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“TEACH US TO PRAY”: THE LORD’S PRAYER IN THE SIXTEENTH-CENTURY RE-RITUALIZATIONS OF CHRISTIAN FORMATION
Submitted to the Graduate School of the University of Notre Dame in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
by Katharine S. Mahon
Maxwell E. Johnson, Director Graduate Program in Theology Notre Dame, Indiana August 2016
ProQuest Number: 10308168
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© Copyright 2016 Katharine S. Mahon
“TEACH US TO PRAY”: THE LORD’S PRAYER IN THE SIXTEENTH-CENTURY RE-RITUALIZATIONS OF CHRISTIAN FORMATION
Abstract by Katharine S. Mahon
This dissertation is a consideration of the re-ritualization of Christian formation during the sixteenth century. It examines the reformers’ alterations to ritual aspects of Christian formation in the areas of catechesis, liturgical participation, and private prayer in the traditions of the Lutheran churches, the Church of England, and the Roman Catholic Church. It utilizes the Lord’s Prayer, the ritual key to the Church’s formation of laypeople for participation in the worship life of the Church, as a lens by which the sixteenth-century reforms of the medieval ritual system can be outlined and examined.
For my mother, who taught me how to pray.
Acknowledgments................................................................................................................v Chapter 1: Introduction ........................................................................................................1 1.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................6 1.2 Methodology ....................................................................................................11 1.3 State of the Question ........................................................................................11 1.4 Scope of the Project .........................................................................................15 1.5 Outline of this Dissertation ..............................................................................17 Chapter 2: The Ritual Functions of the Lord’s Prayer in Medieval Patterns of Christian Formation..................................................................................................20 2.1 The Ritual Functions of the Lord’s Prayer in Late Medieval Liturgy and Sacrament...................................................................................................26 2.1.1 The Lord’s Prayer in Patristic Christian Initiation............................28 2.1.2 The Lord’s Prayer in Early Medieval Christian Initiation ................29 2.1.3 The Lord’s Prayer in the Late Medieval Eucharistic Liturgy ...........37 2.1.4 The Lord’s Prayer in the Late Medieval Rite of Penance .................48 2.2 The Lord’s Prayer in Late Medieval Parish Life .............................................55 2.2.1 The Function of the Lord’s Prayer in Daily Prayer ..........................57 2.2.2 The Function of the Lord’s Prayer in Sermons and the Liturgical Year ...............................................................................61 2.2.3 The Function of the Lord’s Prayer in the Parish Experience ............69 2.3 The Function of the Lord’s Prayer in Lay Private Prayer and Devotion .........76 2.3.1 The Lord’s Prayer in Lay Prayer ......................................................78 2.3.2 Teaching the Lord’s Prayer ...............................................................80 2.3.3 How To Pray .....................................................................................83 2.3.4 Interpreting the Lord’s Prayer: Language and Function ...................85 2.4 Medieval Christian Formation .........................................................................89 Chapter 3: Re-Ritualizing Catechesis: The Lord’s Prayer in Reformation Catechisms ....92 3.1 Introduction: Re-ritualizing Catechesis ...........................................................93 3.2 The Functions of Late Medieval Catechisms...................................................98 3.3 Catechisms in the Re-ritualization of Christian Formation ...........................106 3.3.1 Martin Luther’s Small Catechism ...................................................106 3.3.2 The Catechism of the Church of England .......................................111 3.3.3 The Roman Catholic Catechism of Peter Canisius .........................115 iii
3.4 Sixteenth-Century Catechisms and the Re-Ritualization of the Lord’s Prayer ...........................................................................................121 3.4.1 Catechisms in the Reformers’ Ritual Systems ................................126 3.4.2 The Ritual Uses of Luther and Cranmer’s Catechisms ...................133 3.5 Conclusion: Re-Ritualizing Catechesis..........................................................139 Chapter 4: Re-Ritualizing Liturgical Participation: The Lord’s Prayer in Reformation Liturgy ....................................................................................................................142 4.1 Belonging and Participating in the Fifteenth Century ...................................146 4.2 Lay Participation and the Lord’s Prayer in Martin Luther’s Reforms ...........156 4.3 Lay Participation and the Lord’s Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer .....164 4.4 Lay Participation and the Lord’s Prayer in the Tridentine Liturgical Reforms ....................................................................................................173 4.5 Conclusion: Re-Ritualizing Lay Liturgical Participation ..............................183 Chapter 5: Teaching How to Pray: Re-Ritualizing Lay Prayer by Means of the Lord’s Prayer .....................................................................................................................185 5.1 The Lord’s Prayer in Medieval Lay Prayer Patterns .....................................190 5.2 The Re-Ritualization of the Lord’s Prayer in Martin Luther’s Reforms of Lay Prayer ................................................................................................203 5.3 The Lord’s Prayer in English Protestant Reforms of Lay Prayer ..................215 5.4 The Lord’s Prayer in Roman Catholic Reforms of Lay Prayer .....................225 5.5 Conclusion: Re-Ritualizing Lay Prayer by Means of the Lord’s Prayer .......239 Conclusion .......................................................................................................................241 Bibliography ....................................................................................................................244
This dissertation is technically the fruit of two years’ worth of labor, but it is also the result of years of instruction, training, study, writing, and guidance. Neither the thoughts contained in this dissertation nor their appearance on these pages would have been possible without the inspiration, direction, and support of all those to whom I give my thanks in these acknowledgments. I would first like to thank my advisor and director, Maxwell Johnson, whose teaching and mentorship have been indispensible to my studies. His eminent example as a scholar, teacher, pastor, mentor, Christian, colleague, and friend will always be before me as a guide in my own life and career. I also owe a great debt of gratitude to Kimberly Belcher for her unfailing help with problems big and small in the dissertation process. Thanks are also due to Ann Astell and Brad Gregory for their counsel, feedback, and encouragement. I also want to thank those instructors whose instruction and guidance over the years have made this project possible: Timothy Matovina, Catherine Mooney, Mark Tranvik, and Phillip Adamo. A large debt of gratitude is also due to all of my friends and colleagues whose friendship has made this “terrible life choice” of graduate studies worthwhile. Finally, I would like to thank my family. To my brothers, Daniel and Michael, whose insights I value and whose friendship I cherish: thank you. I also want to thank my
parents, James and Patricia, who have been a source of unending support and the biggest advocates of my development as a theologian, from even my earliest memory of learning the Our Father while jumping on the bed. I could not have done any of it without you behind me. Finally, I would like to thank my grandparents, whose example and blessed memory are never far from my thoughts.
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
On February 21, 1431, the first day of examination prior to her trial for witchcraft, nineteen-year-old Joan of Arc was asked an initial round of questions by her interrogators. They first sought to establish the basics of who Joan was and how she practiced her faith: her name, her birthplace, her parents, the priest who baptized her, her godparents, as well as her knowledge of the prayers that her mother taught her: the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Creed.1 When asked to recite the Our Father, however, Joan replied that she would only do so if the French bishop present would hear her confession. Later, on March 12, Joan’s examiners inquired of her why, if she was truly a “daughter of God” as she claimed, she would not recite the Lord’s Prayer for them on the first day of interrogation. Again Joan resisted, responding that she gladly prayed the prayer, but only refused in the previous instance because the bishop would not also hear her confession. 2 Why would Joan not recite her Pater Noster to the interrogators when she was willing to provide them with other information about her faith practices? It seems that
As recounted in Daniel Hobbins, trans. and ed., The Trial of Joan of Arc (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005), 50; Pierre Champion, ed., Procès de condamnation de Jeanne d'Arc, vol. 1 (Paris: E. Champion, 1920), 34. 2
Hobbins, Trial, 50-51; Champion, 34.
her refusal was, in part at least, due to the fact that Joan saw an important connection between the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and the practice of sacramental confession. Historians of Joan’s trial have suggested that perhaps Joan simply did not want her examiners to test her accurate recitation of the prayers in Latin and her intellectual comprehension of them. Yet her insistence upon linking her recitation of the prayer to her confessing to the Bishop of Beauvais suggests something deeper at work. Pierre Tisset holds that Joan understood the gravity of lying under the seal of confession and so wanted to confess to the bishop so as to prove her innocence.3 Yet Joan also would have been familiar with another characteristic of the late medieval rite of penance: the practice of catechetical examination of penitents prior to confession. The Pupilla oculi of the 1380s describes a practice relating to the sacrament of penance that she likely would have experienced: “If the priest sees that the penitent is simple or unlettered, he should inquire if he knows the Lord’s Prayer, the Angelic Salutation, and the Symbol of Faith, and, if he does not, he should teach him, or admonish him to learn them.”4 Joan’s own, unbidden insistence upon being examined by clergy on the Lord’s Prayer only in the context of the ritual of confession points to her having experienced such a examination within confession in the past, and to her having been ritually trained to expect such an examination by a priest only in that ritual context. For Joan, who was theologically uneducated beyond the basics of the faith taught to her by her mother and who frequently
Pierre Tisset, ed., Procès de condamnation de Jeane d’Arc, vol. III (Paris: Crapelet, 1841), 79.
Translation provided in Henry Ansgar Kelly, “Saint Joan and Confession: Internal and External Forum,” in Joan of Arc and Spirituality, ed. Ann W. Astell and Bonnie Wheeler (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 64; John Burgh, Pupilla Oculi (Paris, 1527), pt. 5, ch. 7, sec. A.
confessed to her parish priest in Greux and to priests while on campaign, the familiar context for clergy to judge her ability to pray the Pater Noster was within the ritual of the sacrament of penance. Additionally, on March 12, Joan was asked about the voices that guided her, ascribed to Saints Catherine and Margaret, and called her “daughter of the Church” and “daughter of God.” Joan was then asked why, if she called herself a daughter of God, she would not say the Our Father. She replied that she prayed it gladly, but that she had refused prior because she had intended to give her confession to the bishop subsequently.5 It seems clear from this episode of Joan’s trial that her interrogators understood the Lord’s Prayer to be a signifier of one’s membership in the Church and that they saw a discrepancy between Joan’s assertion that she was a daughter of God when she had previously refused to recite the Lord’s Prayer. Again, Joan insisted that their previous interrogation of her knowledge of the prayer was understood by her to be related to her participation in the sacrament of confession. For Joan, it was one thing for her to call herself a daughter of God and to pray the Lord’s Prayer, but if members of the clergy were to examine her ability to pray the prayer and question whether or not she was truly a daughter of God, it seems that she expected them to do so according to the familiar ritual pattern: by means of the penitential rite. The trial of Joan of Arc sheds light upon one laywoman’s unique experience of being examined on her knowledge of the Lord’s Prayer. The curious fact that Joan would not recite the prayer for her examiners outside of the ritual of confession was perhaps an
Hobbins, Trial, 93; Champion, Procès, 102.
attempt by Joan to prove her innocence of the charges leveled against her through the sacrament or it might have been evidence that Joan worried about her ability properly to recite the prayer in Latin and explain its meaning. Nevertheless, if Joan’s previous confessors had followed the norms set out in the Pupilla oculi, Joan would have heretofore experienced a member of the clergy formally requiring her to recite that prayer in the context of the ritual of confession. Furthermore, her examiners, trying to trap Joan by highlighting the seeming discrepancy between her self-understanding as a “daughter of God” and her previous refusal to recite the Our Father, saw the Lord’s Prayer—a text recited at baptism—as signifying one’s membership in the Church and one’s identification with Jesus Christ. A century after Joan’s 1431 trial and execution, the pastor and reformer Martin Luther, in his 1529 Small Catechism, instructed the ministers and heads of household in his churches to teach and examine those in their care on the traditional catechetical texts—the Ten Commandments, Creed, and Lord’s Prayer—so that they might have the knowledge necessary truly to call themselves Christian and participate in the Church’s sacraments.6 Likewise, Thomas Cranmer’s catechism in the Church of England’s 1549 Book of Common Prayer interrogated children along the following lines: “What is your name? Who gave you this name? What did your Godfathers and Godmothers [promise] for you?” Those being catechized were then asked to recite the texts and meanings of the Creed and Ten Commandments, and, finally, questioned as to their knowledge of the
Martin Luther, Kleiner Katechismus, in D. Martin Luthers Werke: Kristische Gesamtausgabe (Weimar: 1966), 264-266. Hereafter WA.
Lord’s Prayer.7 In the Roman Catholic setting, the great Jesuit catechist Peter Canisius published his Catechismus Minor in 1566, a small catechism for children that asked them to recite the form of the Lord’s Prayer.8 And by 1597 Cardinal Robert Bellarmine had published his own catechism in Italian that asked: “Do you know the Pater Noster?” “I know it very well, for this is the first thing that I learned,” the child answered, “and I say it every morning and evening together with the Ave Maria and with the Creed.” “Then say the Pater Noster.’”9 These sixteenth-century standardized examinations on the Lord’s Prayer, enshrined in the sixteenth-century catechisms of Martin Luther, the Church of England, Peter Canisius, and Robert Bellarmine, were analogous to the pre-confession Lord’s Prayer examinations with which Joan would have been familiar. These catechism interrogations, however, were not enacted prior to the sacrament of confession. Instead, they were most frequently performed in home or school for parent or teacher rather than between priest and parishioner as part of a sacramental rite. Yet each of these catechisms contain echoes of the example of Joan’s examination on the Lord’s Prayer: Cranmer’s catechism recalls godparents’ baptismal promises; Luther’s ties knowledge of the Lord’s Prayer to the ability to participate in the sacraments; Bellarmine’s recognizes that parents taught the prayer to their children; and all of these catechisms were intended to be
“A Catechisme,” First Prayer Book of Edward VI, in The First and Second Prayer Books of Edward VI (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co, 1957), 247. 8
Peter Canisius, S.J., Petri Canisii Societatis Jesu theologi parvus catechismus Catholicorum Latine (London: Henry Hills, 1687), 4. 9
Robert Bellarmine, S.J., Dottrina Cristiana (Rome: Marco e Lorenzo Aureli, 1855), 12.
memorized, recited, and performed in preparation for participating in the sacramental life of the church. These Reformation catechisms, as codified and formalized examinations on the Lord’s Prayer and other catechetical knowledge, existed within a different ritual framework than the Pater Noster examination with which Joan had been familiar. There was, from Joan’s trial to Luther’s Small Catechism, a transformation of the ritual function any symbolism of the Lord’s Prayer in clerical examinations of lay religious knowledge. Between 1431 and 1597, religious authorities in Western Christianity undertook a renegotiation of the medieval Catholic ritual system in their efforts to reform the theology and worship practices of Christianity. In so doing, they re-ritualized the ways in which the Church conveys its beliefs to its members—the rituals of Christian formation—in instruction, liturgy, and prayer. This dissertation will examine the re-ritualization of the Lord’s Prayer in the sixteenth century. It will use the Lord’s Prayer as a marker for the sake of tracing the larger re-ritualization of Christian formation evidenced by the Protestant and Catholic reforms of catechesis, liturgical participation, and patterns of private prayer during that century. It is a cross-confessional study of the re-ritualization of Christian formation during the sixteenth century reformations in Lutheran Churches of the German states, the Church of England, and the Roman Catholic Church.
1.1 Introduction Liturgical historians are trained to examine the official liturgical texts of the traditions that they study. Liturgical historians with an interest in the Christian laity and their role in the worship life of the Church, however, are left with rather limited sources. 6
Without firsthand accounts of liturgical performance, participation, and theology from the lay perspective, such an endeavor is excruciatingly restricted. The liturgical texts themselves rarely make note of the people gathered for worship beyond those leading worship. Written for those who presided over the ceremonies and, sometimes, those who aided them—deacons, acolytes, cantors, and choirs—the liturgical documents of the Middle Ages and into the early modern era reflect the concerns of their authors and their audience, who were overwhelmingly clerical. The congregation with whom they worshipped and on whose behalf they sent up their prayers logically did not factor largely into the necessary ritual directions of the liturgical texts. Those of us who study liturgy with an eye to the lay faithful of the past must turn to other sources to more fully flesh out the role of the laity in Christian worship practices of the past. Recent work in the field of liturgical history has turned to the insights of social historians, scholars of ritual, material culture, and more to both fill the gaps in the textual evidence and to further flesh out the bare bones of religious ritual expressed in the official liturgical texts. Paul Bradshaw and John Melloh’s edited volume, Foundations in Ritual Studies, explains the transition as a turn from liturgical texts to liturgical actions: “what people do in worship, how they do it, and what their actions mean.”10 Thus, a turn to extra-liturgical sources for evidence of liturgical action in necessary. Miri Rubin has recently discussed the new interdisciplinary nature of studying liturgy and the recent flood of interest in the worship lives of laypeople in an essay in Teresa Berger and Bryan
Paul F. Bradshaw and John Melloh, eds., Foundations in Ritual Studies: A Reader for Students of Christian Worship (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), back cover.
Spinks’ Liturgy’s Imagined Past/s.11 Extra-liturgical textual sources can help us to reconstruct past liturgies, but perhaps we need to move beyond our understanding of liturgy as merely what occurs within the walls of the church and the pages of the Missal and Breviary, especially if our concern is understanding lay worship in its historical context. The official liturgical texts and the liturgy itself, however, encompass only one aspect of the laity’s participation in the worship life of the Church. Documents regarding the religious education of the laity, for example, open up a range of new pathways into the laity’s role in worship as participants in both an active/performative sense and a receptive/formative sense. The religious education concepts of catechesis and mystagogy, the ends and origins of which are sacramental participation, further highlight the ways in which the laity as receivers of this ritualized instruction are also the intended participants of this action of the Church. Furthermore, clerical instructions for the laity’s private prayer reveal the theological and devotional formational ambitions behind the clergy’s idealized patterns of lay prayer. This evidence serves not only to enrich our scholarly understanding of the participation of the laity in the liturgical life of the Church, it also breathes life into our reconstructions of the worship life of past Christians. Yet the use of non-traditional liturgical sources in liturgical studies not only helps us to “fill the gaps” of past lay liturgical practice; it also reveals a fuller understanding of the ways in which the laity participate in the Church’s life of prayer. The laity’s reception of and handing down
Miri Rubin, “Liturgy’s Present: How Historians Are Animating a ‘New’ History of Liturgy,” in Teresa Berger and Bryan D. Spinks, eds., Liturgy’s Imagined Past/s (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2016), 19-35.
of official and unofficial practices of prayer, understandings of and innovations in liturgical participation, and acceptance and appropriation of catechesis exposes their role as participants in the Church’s perpetual working out of the liturgical maxim lex orandi, lex credendi. These three central modes of lay participation in the Church’s worship fall into a three-part pattern: catechesis, liturgical participation, and prayer. This pattern of catechesis-liturgy-prayer is not my own discovery. If pressed, most liturgical scholars would acknowledge it as a logical pattern of the Church’s ritual action, perhaps mentioned obliquely in a few works of liturgical theology,12 but never discussed in detail. Yet this pattern lends itself to any study of the religious life of Christian laypeople that attempts to reflect the relationship between Christians and Christian worship in concrete actions. For example, Eamon Duffy’s seminal work on late medieval English lay religiosity, The Stripping of the Altars, presents the reader with the same pattern in his Part I: The Structures of Traditional Religion.13 Duffy logically outlined his treatment of the religious lives of late medieval English Catholics around the central pillars in their patterns of worship: catechesis, liturgy, and prayer. Though it takes up this three-part pattern, however, Duffy’s incomparable first half of his Stripping of the Altars was not written as a clearly defined description of lay ritual participation. Duffy was instead repudiating the long-standing contention in historical scholarship that the late Middle Ages was a time of religious decay and decline. Furthermore, Duffy did not
Aidan Kavanaugh’s On Liturgical Theology and Enrico Mazzo’s Mystagogy come close to, but never bring up, this pattern. 13
Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 200.
continue this pattern in the second half of his book, which looks to the Protestant Reformations in England and sees the ritual system of lay worship as too fractured to continue the pattern. The ritual threads of lay Christian formation—catechesis, liturgical participation, and prayer—overlap and tangle in such a way to make them difficult to study and more difficult to systematically explain their liturgical theologies and patterns both individually and collectively. In fact, no scholar has attempted to study Christian formation according to this model, let alone attempted a historical study of formation through this tripartite structure. It is simply too vast a topic. By focusing on one common aspect shared by each wing of Christian formation, however, a scholar can study these interwoven aspects of Christian formation with more clarity. Thus, I have utilized the Lord’s Prayer as a useful lens through which late medieval Christian formation might be considered and through which sixteenth-century Protestant and Catholic reforms might be understood. As I will argue in the second chapter, in the late Middle Ages the Lord’s Prayer framed clerical explanations of lay prayer, liturgical participation, and necessary religious knowledge. In the reforms of the sixteenth century, the Lord’s Prayer was re-ritualized by reformers in liturgy, prayer, and catechesis, reflecting the larger ritual fragmentation and reconstruction undertaken by Luther, Cranmer, and the Tridentine reformer. Thus the Lord’s Prayer serves as both a lens for analysis of the reforms of Christian formation and a sort of ritual stake in the ground, marking out the outlines of the Church’s official avenues for the laity’s participation in rituals of worship.
1.2 Methodology This dissertation is a work of liturgical studies, in all its interdisciplinary breadth: focusing on a particular historical period and utilizing the primary liturgical and catechetical documents of these confessional traditions, analyzing their theological claims and their ritual functions, to consider how the architects of these expressions of faith understood the functions of ritual, prayer, and catechesis in forming faithful believers. This dissertation draws on the methods and insights of ritual studies and social history when useful, such as Catherine Bell and John Bossy, as well as the texts and questions that drive the research of scholars of religious education and the history of spirituality. It is reflective of my larger research interests—the laity’s participation in worship, but also the Church’s formation of Christians through participation in worship. As such, it will focus not on the laity’s experience of participation, but on clerical prescriptions for ideal lay participation in the worship life of the Church, as explicated in catechesis, liturgical rubrics, and instructions on patterns of prayer. This dissertation does not attempt to answer the questions put forward by Bradshaw and Melloh: what people did in worship, how they did it, and what their actions meant. It will, instead, put forward theories about what the Church’s authorities, medieval pastors and sixteenth-century reformers alike, told people to do in worship, how they wanted them to do it, and what the people’s actions meant to them.
1.3 State of the Question Most liturgical historians treat the sixteenth-century Protestant and Catholic liturgical reforms in light of their medieval inheritance. Scholars such as Yngve 11
Brilioth,14 James White,15 Bryan Spinks,16 Frank Senn,17 and Maxwell Johnson18 have all contributed major cross-confessional surveys of these reforms by first introducing their understandings of medieval patterns of liturgical and sacramental practices. Additionally, Vilmos Vajta19 and more recent scholars Gordon Jeanes20 and Kent Burreson21 have produced more in-depth examinations of the sacramental reforms of Martin Luther and Thomas Cranmer. Most foundational liturgical history studies of the liturgical and sacramental reforms of the Council of Trent are contained within larger works on the Roman Mass, such as found in the work of Joseph Jungmann, S.J.,22 and Theodor
Yngve Brilioth, Eucharistic Faith and Practice: Evangelical and Catholic, trans. Arthur Gabriel Hebert (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1930). 15
James White, Protestant Worship: Traditions in Transition (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1989); The Sacraments in Protestant Practice and Faith (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1999); Roman Catholic Worship: From Trent to Today (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2003). 16
Bryan Spinks, Early and Medieval Rituals and Theologies of Baptism: from the New Testament to the Council of Trent (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006); Reformation and Modern Rituals and Theologies of Baptism: from Luther to Contemporary Practices (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006). 17
Frank C. Senn, Christian Liturgy: Catholic and Evangelical (Minneapolis: Fortress Press,
Maxwell E. Johnson, The Rites of Christian Initiation: Their Evolution and Interpretation (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2007). 19
Vilmos Vajta, Die Theologie des Gottesdienstes bei Luther (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1959). Published in English in Vilmos Vajta, Luther on Worship: An Interpretation, trans. U.S. Leupold (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1958). 20
Gordon P. Jeanes, Signs of God’s Promise: Thomas Cranmer’s Sacramental Theology and the Book of Common Prayer (New York: T&T Clark, 2008). 21
Kent Jorgen Burreson, “The Saving Flood: The Medieval Origins, Historical Development, and Theological Import of the Sixteenth Century Lutheran Baptismal Rite” (Ph.D. diss., University of Notre Dame, 2002). 22
Joseph Jungmann, S.J., Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development, trans. Francis A. Brunner, C.SS.R. (Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 2012).
Klauser.23 These works all consider the liturgical and sacramental reforms of the sixteenth century through the liturgical texts, sacramental rites, and accompanying theological writings of the major reformers. As previously discussed, however, liturgical historians are increasingly moving beyond the texts of liturgies and sacramental rites alone to give a wider view of the worship life of the church. Frank Senn has turned his eye to the laity with his social survey of Christian worship, The People’s Work: A Social History of the Liturgy, an important effort by a major liturgical historian to treat the liturgy through the eyes of the laity.24 Nathan Mitchell’s The Mystery of the Rosary: Marian Devotion and the Reinvention of Catholicism,25 however, has turned our focus to extra-liturgical patterns of prayer as a means to understand larger trends in liturgical reform. Mitchell’s is the only work by a liturgical historian that has attempted to treat the wider patterns of the Church’s ritual instruction and expression—what I refer to as Christian formation—by considering not just works of catechesis, liturgy, and prayer, but also sermons, spiritual treatises, letters, saints’ lives, guides to virtuous living, music, art, architecture, and more to paint a rich portrait of early modern Catholic practice. Mitchell is also one of the only liturgical historians to consciously treat the larger ritual fragmentation and renovation of
Theodor Klauser, A Short History of the Western Liturgy, trans. John Halliburton (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979). 24
Frank C. Senn, The People’s Work: A Social History of the Liturgy (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006). 25
Nathan Mitchell, The Mystery of the Rosary: Marian Devotion and the Reinvention of Catholicism (New York: NYU Press, 2009).
the sixteenth century, particularly in how it played out in Roman Catholic liturgical reforms. This dissertation is deeply indebted to the social and religious historians whose previous generations’ of work paved the way for the interdisciplinary approach that my research takes. These scholars first had to turn to the laity, then in the next generation to revise our previous historical assumptions by considering the Reformation in light of the vibrancy of late medieval religious practice, by rethinking past assumptions of popular and elite and lay participation and agency, and finally by setting aside confessional convictions to recast these stories of reform in cross-confessional studies. It is only by building upon this past work that scholars today can undertake more in-depth discussions of lay religiosity today. Throughout this dissertation I will lay out the state of the question on specific issues—such as the liturgical participation of laypeople or the study of lay prayers—and historians’ treatments of them as they arise. Although I am aware of the larger scholarly debates concerning questions on catechetical programs during the Reformation or the success or failure of the reforms, they are beyond the scope of this project, which is concerned with the implicit theologies and ritual theories behind prescriptions for religious practices, not their effects. Here I will treat instead those historians who have, in my opinion, successfully synthesized the evidence from liturgical, catechetical, and devotional texts and practices to demonstrate the interconnected nature of the medieval Catholic Church’s program of lay formation. Eamon Duffy, as previously discussed, has in his The Stripping of the Altars woven a rich tapestry of evidence for the flourishing of late medieval lay piety and for the heavy investment of the laity in the Church’s structures of formation. Virginia 14
Reinburg, in her recent French Books of Hours26 has come at the subject from the perspective of prayer books, but has nevertheless utilized liturgical and catechetical evidence, as well as insights from ritual studies, to revise historians’ depictions of lay prayer in the late Middle Ages and Reformation. That being said, while Duffy treats the English Reformations as only the disintegration, and not the remaking of the religious system, Reinburg does not treat the larger sixteenth-century reworking of ritual, or, indeed, the Protestant reformers. Another helpful conversation partner in this discussion of Christian formation and ritual is the 2013 dissertation by medievalist Nathan Ristuccia.27 Ristuccia’s project treats the ritual aspects of Christian formation in the missionary efforts and Carolingian reforms of the early Middle Ages. It is from his work that I take the concept of re-ritualization—the process by which the Carolingian liturgical reformers reworked Patristic patterns of initiation into new rituals for their very different cultural setting—and apply it to the work of the reformers in the sixteenth century.
1.4 Scope of the Project Given the possible enormity of the project—considering the ritual aspects of Christian formation in the later Middle Ages and the subsequent re-ritualization of these aspects under Christian reform movements during the sixteenth century—the scope is necessarily limited. This dissertation will examine two Protestant traditions—the Church
Virigina Reinburg, French Books of Hours: Making an Archive of Prayer, c. 1400-1600 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012). 27
Nathan Ristuccia, “The Transmission of Christendom: Ritual and Instruction in the Early Middle Ages” (Ph.D. diss., University of Notre Dame, 2013).
of England and the Lutheran churches in the German states—and the Roman Catholic Church within Western Europe. A consideration of John Calvin’s reforms would provide further contrasts for discussion, but would also overly complicate the narrative of comparison. Nevertheless, Reformed voices from Bucer in Strasbourg and from the English separatist and puritan wings do make appearances in my treatments of the reritualization of formation in the Church of England. Additionally, inclusion of missionary texts from New Spain, building upon the past work of Jaime Lara and Heliodoro Lucatero and my own work on devotional formation in colonial Mexico,28 would add much richness to this project’s treatment of the sixteenth-century Catholic perspective. A consideration of the Anabaptist tradition’s re-ritualization of Christian formation would also make for a fascinating addition.29 Each of these branches of the sixteenth-century Christian tradition, considered according to the patterns and the lenses that I have set out for this project, promise much possibility for future work. In order to make the patterns of comparison and structure of ritual Christian formation in catechesis, liturgical participation, and prayer as clear as possible, however, these additional perspectives have not been included at this time. This dissertation will consider only manifestations of the Lord’s Prayer in lay catechesis, liturgical participation, and patterns of prayer only in the official documents
See Jaime Lara, “‘Precious Green Jade Water’: A Sixteenth-century Adult Catechumenate in the New World,” Worship 71.5 (1997): 415-28; Heliodoro Lucatero, “Baptism in Sixteenth-Century Mexico” (PhD diss, University of Notre Dame, 2007); and Katharine S. Mahon, “‘May You Be Joyful, Oh Saint Mary’: Translating and Transforming Marian Devotion in New Spain,” in New Frontiers in Guadalupan Studies, ed. Virgilio Elizondo and Timothy Matovina (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2014), 19-38. 29
My gratitude to Karen Westerfield Tucker for this suggestion.
of the Lutheran, English Protestant, and Roman Catholic churches in their most epitomical instances: appearing in the authorized worship, confessional, and devotional documents of those traditions or, when necessary, the most popular versions. This project is not an investigation of the appearance of the Lord’s Prayer in the countless catechisms, sundry local liturgical variations, and untold numbers of works on patterns and practices of private prayer by Catholic and Protestant authors during the sixteenth century, in conjunction with a scholarly analysis and synthesis of their liturgical, theological, and spiritual aspects. This project’s scope is limited to those texts and works that were either a conscious aspect of a reformer’s re-ritualization efforts—such as Luther’s Small Catechism or the Edwardian Primer—or served to exemplify the efforts of a reform movement, such as Canisius’ catechisms.
1.5 Outline of this Dissertation The second chapter of this dissertation will discuss the functions of the Lord’s Prayer in the ritual patterns of the Catholic Church’s formation of its members in the late Middle Ages in order to lay out the ritual framework that the Protestant and Catholic reformers of the sixteenth century reformed. It will begin by outlining the liturgical appearances of the Pater Noster: in the baptismal liturgy, in the eucharistic liturgy, and in connection to the rite of penance. It will then turn to instances of the Lord’s Prayer in the late medieval catechetical tradition: in sermons, pastoral literature, and church art. Finally, it will examine treatments of the Lord’s Prayer in devotional and prayer texts of the period, considering not only instruction on prayer, but also larger theological themes on prayer drawn from the prayer itself. Altogether, it is an attempt to construct an 17
integrated, multi-faceted portrait of the role of the Lord’s Prayer in the worship life of the laity in the late medieval Church, featured in their instruction on liturgical participation and prayer, serving as a central text in practices of private prayer, and acting as the foundation to catechetical schema. The following three chapters, which will consider the Lord’s Prayer in the sixteenth-century re-ritualizations of Christian formation undertaken by Protestant and Catholic reformers alike, have a similar structure. Chapter Three will turn to Reformation catechisms, the paragon of the early modern transformation of religious education. Although stand-alone catechisms pre-dated the Protestant Reformation, the catechisms of Luther, Cranmer, Canisius, and others so transformed the field that their forms and patterns came to define the genre. This chapter will focus its attention on the ritual function of the Lord’s Prayer in both the catechism (as a dialogue ritual) and in each church’s re-ritualized approach to catechesis. Chapter Four will look at the role of the Lord’s Prayer in sixteenth-century liturgical texts and consider the model of liturgical prayer implicit in their authors’ liturgical reforms. The Lord’s Prayer, as a text of congregational liturgical participation, will serve as a lens into the reformers’ approaches to lay liturgical participation and to forming (and re-forming) the laity to participate in the liturgies of the churches. Chapter Five will conclude this project by laying out the re-ritualization of patterns of private prayer in sixteenth-century reforms. It will begin with a discussion of late medieval conceptions of minimally-effective prayer and prayer done ritually “well,” and, in addition, consider the patterns of prayer put forward by late medieval clergy so as to understand late medieval ideals of lay prayer. It will then turn to the reformers’ 18
treatments of lay prayer—both how to pray well, and how to take up the exemplary patterns of prayer put forward by Reformation prayer books, primers, and manuals of prayer.
CHAPTER 2: THE RITUAL FUNCTIONS OF THE LORD’S PRAYER IN MEDIEVAL PATTERNS OF CHRISTIAN FORMATION
The Lord’s Prayer, as the prayer that Jesus taught to his disciples in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, was a central catechumenal text for would-be Christians to learn and was one of the most important prayers both for Christians’ patterns of private prayer and for their common prayer in liturgical celebration from at least the third century of Christianity.30 This chapter will consider the ritual functions of the Lord’s Prayer in Western Europe during the late Middle Ages, from approximately 1300 into the sixteenth century, as it appears both in clerical prescriptions and lay liturgical practices, so as to present the reader with an impression of the interconnected, ritually-expressed nature of Christian formation in medieval practice.31 This chapter will present the Lord’s Prayer as a text that, spanning the ritual aspects of Christian formation—catechesis, liturgy, 30
For an overview of the Lord’s Prayer in ancient Christianity, see Kenneth Stevenson, “From the Bible to the Third Century,” in The Lord’s Prayer: A Text in Tradition (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004), 17-42. 31
This synthetic examination of the Lord’s Prayer in liturgical, catechetical, and devotional texts and practice is undertaken despite the many textual and practical variations across locations and over time. I do not suggest that my examples are normative for Catholic practice across all of Western Europe or for the entirety of the Middle Ages. However, these examples are useful windows into overall ritual patterns concerning the Lord’s Prayer.
prayer—illustrates the Church’s attempts to form medieval Christians according to an allencompassing ritual pattern, so as to set the stage for the disintegration of this unified ritual pattern during the Protestant and Catholic Reformations of the sixteenth century. In the Middle Ages, as in the early church and later during the early modern period, the Lord’s Prayer functioned as a text of Christian formation in three connected, but distinct, ways for laypeople: in liturgical participation; in private prayer; and in the transmission of the faith. While many studies of the history of the Lord’s Prayer, of Christian formation, of lay spiritual practices, and of the communal aspects of liturgical celebrations in the Middle Ages have been undertaken separately by scholars, few have presented these topics in their interconnected context. Numerous research challenges and scholarly biases contribute to the poor picture of lay religious practice in the Middle Ages and may explain the poor treatment that past generations of historians of religion, education, and liturgy have often given this period. These challenges include, but are not limited to the perceived lack of theological and pastoral innovation regarding the dominical prayer in the Middle Ages; the catechetical “low point” between the age of the catechumen and the age of catechisms;32 these centuries’ growing rift—both the physical distance from the celebration of the sacraments as church architecture evolved and the linguistic distance as the Latin of the liturgy and sacramental rites became less and less intelligible to the laity—between clergy and laity and the “official” liturgical life of the
See, for example Milton McC. Gatch, “Basic Christian Education from the Decline of Catechesis to the Rise of the Catechisms,” in A Faithful Church: Issues in the History of Catechesis, ed. John H. Westerhoff III and O.C. Edwards, Jr. (Wilton, CT: Morehouse-Barlow, 1981), 79-108.
Church and the “popular” para- and extra-liturgical devotional life of its lay members.33 Historian of Roman Catholic liturgy, Josef Jungmann, S.J., sums up the scholarly treatment of liturgy and religious practice in the later Middle Ages up to and though the middle of the twentieth century in his seminal essay, “The Defeat of Teutonic Arianism and the Revolution of Religious Culture in the Early Middle Ages”: “The dying Middle Ages were admittedly no longer a time of blossoming in the life of the Church: it was a time of decline, of decay, to be followed by an extensive collapse. What was the liturgy like at that time?"34 The implication, of course, is that the liturgy of the late medieval Church must have been collapsing as the Church itself was (or was perceived to be). Yet—despite this supposed deterioration of the church, the liturgy, the state of religious education, or the private piety of that period, and despite the growing calls for reform that foreshadowed the Reformation—historians of the late Middle Ages have in recent years demonstrated an apparent flourishing of religious practice and liturgical life during the last decades of the Middle Ages. As Eamon Duffy has demonstrated for pre-Reformation England, and Bernd Moeller for German lands, Miri Rubin for lay eucharistic practices, and many other scholars have maintained, the religious life of the laity was thriving in many dimensions. People of the parish increasingly exercised their limited means of liturgical and ecclesial participation, took charge of their religious education through Books of Hours, prayer books, and other religious literature, and adopted complex
See Nathan Mitchell, Cult and Controversy: The Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass (New York: Pueblo, 1982). 34
Josef Jungmann, S.J., “The Defeat of Teutonic Arianism and the Revolution of Religious Culture in the Early Middle Ages,” Pastoral Liturgy (New York: Herder and Herder, 1962), 64.
patterns of prayer and integrated semi-liturgical prayer practices into their everyday lives.35 Paradoxically, it was from this flourishing of devotional, liturgical, and catechetical practices of the later Middle Ages that the Reformation grew; the very practices which the Reformers transformed and some of the sources of their inspiration for reforms came from the late medieval heritage of liturgical, devotional, catechetical, and spiritual texts. As others have noted, although ecclesiastical and theological concerns quickly came to define the Reformation, its origins were also in movements to reform lay prayer, lay catechesis, and lay liturgical participation.36 And for each major ecclesial player on the Reformation stage, major reforms were undertaken in these areas, thereafter altering the ways that the laity learned the faith, expressed their faith, and worshipped according to the faith. Using evidence from ecclesial legislation, liturgical rites, prayer books, guides to the Mass, and records of liturgical and pious practices, this chapter will examine the 35
For a sampling of recent scholarly discussions of the flourishing of late medieval practices of lay religious education, liturgical involvement, and popular piety, see Eamon Duffy, “Part I, Section A: Liturgy, Learning, and the Laity,” The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580, 2nd ed. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005), 9-87; Bernd Moeller, "Piety in Germany Around 1500," in The Reformation in Medieval Perspective, ed. Steven E. Ozment (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1971), 50-75; Miri Rubin, Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991); Berndt Hamm, “Normative Centering in the 15th and 16th Centuries: Observations or Religiosity, Theology, and Iconology,” in The Reformation of Faith in the Context of Late Medieval Theology and Piety: Essays by Berndt Hamm, trans. Robert James Bast (Boston: Brill: 2004), 1-49; John Van Engen, “Multiple Options: The Word of the Fifteenth-Century Church,” Church History 77 (2008): 257-284; Caroline Walker Bynum, Christian Materiality: An Essay on Late Medieval Religion (New York: Zone Books, 2011); R.N. Swanson, Religion and Devotion in Europe, c.1215-c.1515 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995). 36
For devotion, see: William R. Russell, Praying for Reform: Martin Luther, Prayer, and the Christian Life (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 2005); for catechesis, see: Timothy J. Wengert, Martin Luther’s Catechisms: Forming the Faith (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2009) and Bernard Marthaler, O.F.M.Conv., The Catechism Yesterday and Today (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1995); for liturgy, see: James F. White, Protestant Worship: Traditions in Transition (Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1989) and James F. White, The Sacraments in Protestant Practice and Faith (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1999).
Lord’s Prayer in clerical instructions for lay participation in the worship life of the Church and in the laity’s ritual expressions according to these prescriptive norms. It seeks to, moreover, consider the Lord’s Prayer in the fullness of its practical contexts— how its use sheds light on ecclesial past practices of the religious formation of laypeople. While there have been numerous treatments of the theological interpretations of the Lord’s Prayer in the Middle Ages,37 or of the uses of the Lord’s Prayer in sermons,38 one study of the Lord’s Prayer specifically in liturgical and sacramental practice,39 but none of these have treated the Lord’s Prayer larger role in the interconnected ritual aspects of lay piety, liturgical experience, and religious education. The Lord’s Prayer is an ideal lens into lay religious expression and participation: as a basic Christian catechetical text, it was expected that all Christians were familiar with it; as a liturgical text, it was the primary means of oral liturgical participation for the laity in the sacramental rites, and as a devotional text, it was the foundational prayer text for all Christians. Nevertheless, integrated study of the Lord’s Prayer—and other catechumenal prayers, such as the Creed and Ave Maria—in the fullness of its complex functions is just beginning. Until recently, catechetical prayers had been overlooked by historians because of their ubiquitous and
See Kenneth Stevenson, The Lord’s Prayer: A Text in Tradition (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004) and Nicholas Ayo, The Lord’s Prayer: A Survey Theological and Literary (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992). 38
See Stevenson and Ayo, as well as Jean Carmignac, A l’écoute du Notre Père (Paris: O.E.I.L., 1984); A History of Prayer: The First to the Fifteenth Century, ed. Roy Hammerling (Boston: Brill, 2008); Paul W. Robinson, “Lord, Teach Us to Pray: Preaching the Pater Noster in Germany and Austria, 11001500” (PhD diss., University of Chicago, 2001); Nathan J. Ristuccia, “The Transmission of Christendom: Ritual and Instruction in the Early Middle Ages” (PhD diss., University of Notre Dame, 2013); Le Pater Noster au XIIe siècle: Lectures et usages, ed. Francesco Siri (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2015). 39
Ingemar Furberg, Das Pater Noster in der Messe (Lund: Carl Bloms Boktrycheri, 1968).
elementary status, but these very traits describe why a study of how these prayers were used—by the clergy for the laity and on the part of the laity themselves—could give us new insights into lay experience, the process of formation, and conceptions of participation. As Reformation historian R.N. Swanson has described, the importance of these basic prayers for scholarly study of past religious practice is vastly underestimated: Precisely because the basic prayers were basic, supposedly universally known, they do not attract attention. Yet their function merits more thought. They were foundational, a starting point for future devotional development. They were also the prayers which could be demanded to ensure the widest scale of participation in any devotional endeavor.40 Moreover, the variety of uses of the Lord’s Prayer—in liturgy, catechesis, and private devotional prayer—reflects the intimate connection among private prayer, public worship, and religious formation, both in the past and in the present. Of all published scholarly treatments of these prayers in the Middle Ages, only Aden Kumler has hinted at the connection between worship and formation in her important work Translating Truth, where she writes: Typically, the obligatory minimum of religious knowledge expected of the laity was coterminous with three texts employed in liturgical and paraliturgical worship: The Pater Noster, the Ave Maria, and the Credo (or Symbol). These texts had a double function. Recited during the Mass or at appointed hours of the day, they functioned as professions of belief, verbal prayers, and acts of worship. At the same time, they served as the basic texts of lay religious education, a terse curriculum in which the cura animarum was to enroll the faithful.41 40
R. N. Swanson, “Prayer and Participation in Late Medieval England,” in Elite and Popular Religion: Papers Read at the 2004 Summer Meeting and 2005 Winter Meeting of the Ecclesiastical History Society, ed. Kate Cooper and Jeremy Gregory (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2006), 135. 41
Aden Kumler, Translating Truth: Ambitious Images and Religious Knowledge in Late Medieval France and England (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011), 33.
Nevertheless, Kumler does not discuss the significance of these basic prayers for private devotion, liturgical participation and religious formation, nor does she reflect upon the implications of the connection among these multiple functions. Only Nathan Ristuccia, in his dissertation on early medieval Christian formation, successfully discusses the catechumenal prayers in the full context of the Church’s program of liturgy, catechesis, and prayer, albeit in the transitional period of the early Middle Ages, rather than in the transitional period of the late Middle Ages.42 The multifaceted functions of the Lord’s Prayer in the practice of the late medieval Church are best categorized as: (1) liturgical, relating to public liturgies and sacramental rites; (2) catechetical, relating to the processes and structures of late medieval religious education; and (3) devotional, relating to practices of private prayer, of individuals or groups, not consisting of the Church’s liturgical rites. This chapter will describe and examine instances of all three categories of the function of the Lord’s Prayer, analyze the effects of these functions and the possible intent behind them, and, finally, discuss the interconnected nature of these functions in the late medieval context.
2.1 The Ritual Functions of the Lord’s Prayer in Late Medieval Liturgy and Sacrament While the Lord’s Prayer became enshrined as a biblical text in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, few, if any, Christians in the Middle Ages learned the prayer from reading it in its scriptural context. Instead, as Nathan Ristuccia notes, the Lord’s Prayer,
Nathan J. Ristuccia, “The Transmission of Christendom: Ritual and Instruction in the Early Middle Ages” (Ph.D. diss., University of Notre Dame, 2013).
or Pater Noster, was learned not from the written page, but “within a series of liturgical contexts which gradually elaborated over the course of the early Middle Ages.” 43 This ritual context of learning the Lord’s Prayer in medieval Christianity—in sacramental rite and liturgy—was inaugurated at baptism and reinforced by regular Mass attendance, while knowledge of the prayer was examined in confession and required for anyone who would serve as a godparent. The laity were not only instructed in popular religious literature to quietly pray the Pater to themselves during the Canon of the Mass or the psalms of the Liturgy of the Hours, but, in parts of England and France they were exhorted to pray it during the Bidding Prayers (or prône or Bidding of the Bedes)44 and even to conclude the priest’s recitation during the Eucharistic rite with a reverent “sed libera nos a malo.”45 Not only was the text of the Lord’s Prayer learned and instilled in the ritual context of liturgy and sacrament for laypeople, but again and again in the liturgical texts and sacramental rites of the Church we see that the ritual participation of the laity is repeatedly built upon the Pater Noster. In the context of the laity’s experience of the worship of the Church, the Lord’s Prayer functioned as the primary liturgical prayer of the people and the primary text for sacramental participation. In sacramental practice, the Lord’s Prayer served both as the
Ristuccia, “Transmission of Christendom,” 176.
Jungmann notes that this is recorded in a Parisian Rituale just before 1300 and appears in an English form as well. Rituale Parisiense (Paris, 1839), 433-441. Bede-rolls in England are described in A. Gasquet, Parish Life in Medieaval England (London: Meuthen, 1909), 222 ff. Cited in Joseph A. Jungmann, S.J., The Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development, vol. I, trans. Francis A. Brunner, C.SS.R. (Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 2012), 488-489. 45
According to a Frankish rubric in Capitulare ecclesiastici ordinis in Michel Andrieu, Les Ordines Romani du Haut Moyen Âge, vol. III (Louvain: Spicilegium sacrum lovaniense bureau, 19311961), 109; cited in Joseph A. Jungmann, S.J., The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. II, 288.
common text of liturgical participation for the congregation during the eucharistic liturgy (whether they communed or not) and as a major part of the baptismal rite. The Lord’s Prayer was also tied to preparation for confirmation, as well as in the practice of auricular confession for the rite of penance. In these rites laypeople were expected to pray the Pater Noster quietly to themselves at the high points of the Mass,46 they were exhorted to pray it for the intentions of the parish community during the intercessory prayers of the Bidding Prayer following the priest’s homily, they were examined by their confessor on their knowledge of the prayer and were frequently assigned it as penance, and they were required to have memorized the prayer in order to serve as a godparent, as they recited the prayer during the baptismal rite and were then obligated to teach it to their godchildren.47 2.1.1 The Lord’s Prayer in Patristic Christian Initiation The function of the Lord’s Prayer in late medieval baptismal practice is the result of the early and high medieval re-ritualization of the Patristic practice of the sacraments of initiation. The cultural and ecclesial circumstances of the early Middle Ages, particularly in the Carolingian period, necessitated a transformation of the patterns of Christian initiation developed in the Patristic Era. Generally, Patristic practices of Christian initiation in the Latin West (Rome, North Africa, and Milan) followed similar patterns. Initiation, often culminating at the Easter Vigil in baptism and reception of the Eucharist, was a three-part process that revolved around religious instruction and ritual 46
As Jungmann discusses in Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. I, 242.
As described below.
preparation. In the years and months leading up to baptism, catechumens were instructed by the bishop (the instruction was called “catechesis”), participated in a series of preparatory rituals including exorcisms and examinations, and set apart from the rest of the community. Shortly before baptism (usually a week or less) they were given the texts of the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer to memorize. On the day of their baptism, the catechumens, in addition to receiving blessings, were baptized, anointed, had hands laid on them, and received the Eucharist for the first time. While their memorization of the Creed was mirrored in their baptismal vows, the newly baptized had to recite the Lord’s Prayer, given to them by the bishop mere days before, back to the bishop before they could receive the Eucharist. This handing-down of the prayer, and its subsequent giving back, is the source of its title as the traditio or “handing down,” and redditio, or “handing back.” Finally, following their full initiation, the newly baptized underwent postsacramental instruction on the rituals they had experienced, called “mystagogy.”48 2.1.2 The Lord’s Prayer in Early Medieval Christian Initiation By the early Middle Ages, the rise of infant baptism and the spread of Christianity beyond urban centers led to two important developments in Christian initiation: the appearance of the rite of confirmation and the re-ritualization of initiation. The separation of the rite of episcopal hand-laying and blessing of the baptism from the baptismal rite, leading to the emergence and rise of the rite of confirmation, was due to both the rise of infant baptism and the increasingly rural population of Christians, which made
Maxwell E. Johnson, The Rites of Christian Initiation: Their Evolution and Interpretation (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2007), 159-218.
presbyteral baptism common and required further “confirmation” of the initiation of the newly baptized into the Church.49 By the late Middle Ages, countless and repeated legislations requiring that baptized children be confirmed by the age of seven, suggest that confirmation, despite the need for its development, was widely neglected. As Kent Burreson notes in his dissertation on the medieval origins of Martin Luther’s baptismal rites, beginning no later than the ninth century there was a move from “the subunits of the initiatory rite—catechumenal rites, baptismal rites, and post-baptismal rites—to three sacramental moments—baptism (including the pre-baptismal, baptismal, and postbaptismal rites), confirmation or episcopal chrismation, and first communion.”50 Yet, at the same time that the rites of initiation were undergoing a ritual expansion, Johnson notes, the pre-baptismal catechumenal rites were subject to a ritual compression. He explains: What had been the catechumenate is increasingly reduced and compressed into a single ceremony, now taking place as a preparatory rite either at the door of the church or in close proximity to the baptismal font… Before baptism itself the infant is ritually made a catechumen with the traditional ceremonies of the giving of salt, signings with the cross, and a series of exorcisms at the church door, followed at the font by the recitation (traditio) of the Our Father and Apostles’ Creed, the apertio or effata, the threefold renunciation of Satan, and an anointing of the candidate’s breast and back. Any catechesis itself, now often limited to the parents’ teaching of their child the Apostles’ Creed, the Our
Kent Jorgen Burreson, “The Saving Flood: The Medieval Origins, Historical Development, and Theological Import of the Sixteenth Century Lutheran Baptismal Rites” (Ph.D. diss., University of Notre Dame, 2002), 44.
Father, and the Hail Mary, would occur, necessarily of course, after baptism as the child grew.51 The ritual transmission of the catechetical prayers—the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer—is perhaps the catechumenal rite most transformed by the turn to infant baptism. A rite that once signaled the Church trusting an initiate with the text of sacred, ritually powerful prayers and that initiate’s mastery of those texts, is, in some early medieval rites, performed wholly by proxy by an ecclesial representative—the acolyte. Burreson notes the change: The Creed and Lord’s Prayer are delivered to the infants without fanfare, no longer signaling acceptance to the list of those competent for baptism. They are chanted by an acolyte while his holds his hands on the infants, clearly a ritualization of a catechetical action. In fact, in Ordo XI the Creed and Prayer are no longer delivered but confessed on behalf of the infants by the acolyte. This action is no longer considered to be a traditio of the Creed and Prayer but a redditio on their behalf.52 The presbyter then delivers the Creed and Lord’s Prayer in Latin with a laying on of hands. In the medieval rites, this traditio occurs almost immediately before the candidate’s representative—the acolyte in some early medieval rites, but a parent or godparent by the later medieval rites—and returns them in the redditio, which is followed by the interrogations.53
Johnson, Rites of Christian Initiation, 260. J.D.C. Fisher, Christian Initiation: Baptism in the Medieval West: A Study in the Disintegration of the Primitive Rite of Initiation (Chicago: Hillenbrand Books, 2004), 115-17. 52
Burreson, “Saving Flood,” 47.
This handing on of the Creed and Pater Noster was seen by the clergy, and implied by the rubrics, as the central ritual and practical moment of the handing on of the faith, as Éric Palazzo has surmised: “In the eyes of the clergy, the Christian faith is in fact based on the two liturgical formulas: the Credo and the Pater Noster.”54 By the high Middle Ages, then, the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer were, ritually and practically speaking, the essential deposit of the faith, handed down in the traditio and redditio of the baptismal liturgy, to be joined later by the Ave Maria. And, as Burreson notes, the addition of the Ave was not a mere nod to popular devotion, but represented an important change in the understanding of the ritual of the redditio: “In this context, the Creed and the Our Father are no longer considered elements entrusted to the neophyte, but prayers prayed by the church, especially the priest and sponsors, for the sake of those to be baptized. The Ave Maria is a seamless addition within the framework of this understanding.”55 By the later Middle Ages, the godparents (godfathers in most German rituals, godfathers and godmothers in the Sarum Rite) who prayed the Creed, Lord’s Prayer, and Ave Maria, on the candidate’s behalf were admonished by the priest to teach these prayers, as well as the Ten Commandments, to their godchild. 56 These admonitions developed from at least the Carolingian period, if not before, but they became an important part of the pre-baptismal rites at least in part due to the fact that the traditio and
Éric Palazzo, “Foi et Croyance: Les Meditations Liturgiques." Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales 53:6 (1998): 1140. 55
Burreson, “Saving Flood,” 63.
Burreson, 64; Burreson is here working with the Breslau (1300s) and Rheinau (early 1100s) Rituals. The Sarum Rite can be found in A. Jefferies Collins, ed., Manuale ad usum Percelebris Ecclesie Sarisburiensis (Chichester, UK: Henry Bradshaw Society, 1960), 31-32.
redditio of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer had ceased to have a clear ritual purpose in the baptismal rite when practiced in infant baptism.57 When it became a requirement that godparents be able to recite the Creed and Lord’s Prayer, however, the delivery of the prayers began to ritually “function…partly as an act in which the sponsors proved that they were in a position to serve as sponsors.”58 Moreover, the godparents’ recitation of these initiatory prayers “served as a reminder of what they had received in baptism and that they were to teach what they had received…”59 The Lord’s Prayer, along with the Creed, which was once ritually presented to and returned by the catechumen in the Patristic pre-baptismal rites, came, in time, to function in a new manner in the ritual; it became a way for the godparents to both reaffirm their own baptismal vows and to pledge the same faith for the child entrusted to their spiritual care. Thus, over the course of the Middle Ages as infant baptism became the norm, the rites of Christian initiation went through a process of re-ritualization at the hand of the clergy: through textual emendation and alteration of liturgical practice, the catechumenal rites became pre-baptismal rites. They ceased to initiate the neophyte into the practice of the faith, and instead came to symbolize “the entrance of the child into the protective custody of the church and its mediation of life with God.” The catechumen’s spiritual and moral conversion, ritualized in the rites of initiation, was effectively lost. Instead, in the late medieval baptismal rite, the infant was “converted through the proper intention and
Burreson, “Saving Flood,” 64.
prayers of the priest and people, especially the godfathers, regarding the performance of the baptismal rite.”60 The traditio and redditio of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer further illustrate this re-ritualization: “These items are not delivered to the catechumen anymore, but are prayed as a reflection of the response of those to be baptized to the ministry of the church. They are delivered to the godfathers so that they might see to that [sic] the child fulfills the intentions of his/her baptism.”61 The late medieval baptismal rite then came to function both as a pledge on the part of the parents and godparents and perhaps even as a renewal of their own baptisms. In fulfilling their promises to raise their child in the faith and teach him or her the catechumenal prayers, the sponsors symbolically fulfilled the baptismal promises that were once made on their behalf. The rite of baptism in the Sarum Use features a typical baptismal rite for the late medieval Church. The pre-baptismal rites of blessings and exorcisms began at the doors of the church and led to the baptismal font, where the priest invited the godparents and any others present to recite the Lord’s Prayer, the Ave Maria, and the Creed to themselves as he prayed them aloud in Latin.62 The child was then baptized and the parents and godparents were exhorted to keep the child safe, to teach him or her the Pater Noster, Ave Maria, and Creed, and to ensure that he or she was confirmed by the bishop.63 Moreover, the rite cautioned that “persons are not to be received or admitted as
Burreson, “Saving Flood,” 98-99.
Manuale Sarisburiensis, 30.
godparents except those who know the previously stated things [the Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, Creed, and Sign of the Cross].”64 This centuries-long transformation of the rites of Christian initiation thus mirrors the simultaneous alteration of the ritual role of the catechetical rites in general and in the function of the Lord’s Prayer in particular. Where the catechumenal rites of the Patristic practice of Christian initiation were truncated, condensed, and tacked onto the baptismal ceremony as pre-baptismal rites, their original function of catechetical instruction became ritualized. The baptismal candidate’s fittingness for baptism was based not on spiritual or moral conversion, but on the parents’, sponsors’, and priest’s intentions. The catechumen’s preparation for baptism, which once hinged primarily upon instruction, became heavily ritualized and contingent on exorcisms, blessings, and the vows of the godparents. The Lord’s Prayer, then, along with its catechetical partner, the Creed, lost its original pre-baptismal function as a well-guarded prayer formula entrusted to the catechumen, as well as its baptismal function as the believer’s declaration of his or her adoption by God and membership in the Church. The late medieval function of the Lord’s Prayer and Creed in the celebration of baptism, underscored by the later inclusion of the Ave Maria, was thus that of intercessory prayer on the part of the godparents, as well as their solemn promise to hand the prayer on to their godchild as he or she grew. There was, moreover, a vocational element to the godparents being entrusted with the child’s spiritual care and religious education: it implied that, rather than the child being entrusted with the ritually potent Lord’s Prayer, the godparents were entrusted with 64
Manuale Sarisburiensis, 32; translation in E.C. Whitaker, Documents of the Baptismal Liturgy, ed. Maxwell E. Johnson (Collegeville: Liturgical Press), 305.
helping to form the child into a Christian who recognized the prayer’s worth. The magnitude of the Lord’s Prayer in late medieval baptismal practice weighed not on the neophyte, but on his or her sponsors, as it came to function as a guarantor of the sponsors’ and parents’ knowledge of the faith as well as a symbol of their duty to pass it to the next generation. This increasingly ritualized role of pre-baptismal catechesis in the Middle Ages and the utter loss of its catechetical function resulted in the transfer of catechesis to postbaptismal instruction. At the same time, the rite of confirmation, which developed from the episcopal chrismation of the newly baptized, moved from a post-baptismal rite within the baptismal celebration to its own sacramental rite. Parents were encouraged to seek confirmation for their children soon after baptism, but the increasing age of confirmation suggested in legislation (within a year, within three years, by age seven, and so on) suggests that, due to lack of opportunity or interest, parents frequently neglected having their child confirmed within the period legislated by local ecclesial authorities. By the late Middle Ages, this persistent procrastination led to conciliar legislation insisting not that children be confirmed by age seven, but that they not be confirmed before age seven. In Cologne as early as 1280 and more frequently in the sixteenth century, it was decreed that children not be confirmed before the age of reason—seven.65 The admonitions to the godparents in the Limoges Rituale of the fourteenth century and the Sarum Manual of the early sixteenth century, moreover, insist upon the parents’ and godparents’ obligation to teach the baptized the prayers of the traditio and keep them from harm until they reach 65
Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collection, in qua…ea Omnia…exhibentur quae J.D. Mansi evulgavit, vol. XXIV (Florence, 1759), 349; cited in Fisher, Christian Initiation, 137-138.
the age of seven.66 With no reason behind this insistence on raising children to know the practices of the faith and keeping them from harm until the age of seven, specifically, one can reasonably conclude, as J.D.C. Fisher had, that “there was an underlying intention that confirmation should be received at the age of seven.”67 This connection—among the age of confirmation, the ongoing catechetical instruction of the baptized, the obligations of parents and sponsor relating to them, and an increasing rationale of later confirmation based on comprehension—suggests, thus, a faint, but growing, late medieval understanding of catechetical instruction, particularly knowledge of the catechetical prayers, as preparation for confirmation, rather than the Patristic practice of catechetical instruction as baptismal preparation. As we shall see in later chapters, this implicit late medieval notion is made explicit in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century practices of catechesis and confirmation of the Catholic and Protestant churches. 2.1.3 The Lord’s Prayer in the Late Medieval Eucharistic Liturgy The public celebration of the eucharistic liturgy at Sunday Mass and on feast days in the later Middle Ages featured several opportunities for lay liturgical participation through the medium of vocal recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. Local custom and usage varied widely, but the Lord’s Prayer was understood by clergy to be the most prominent and frequent means of lay liturgical participation in the eucharistic liturgy throughout the Middle Ages and into the sixteenth century.
E. Martène, De Antiquis Ecclesiae Ritibus, vol. I (Antwerp: 1763), 79; cited in Fisher, Christian Initiation, 148. 67
Fisher, Christian Initiation, 135.
There have been many studies in the past decades of scholarship of the changes to the Eucharist and the laity’s relationship to the celebration of the sacrament over the early and high Middle Ages. Nathan Mitchell’s Cult and Controversy, for example, stands out as a particularly important work on the topic by a liturgical historian, arguing that the veneration of the Eucharist outside of the Mass paralleled a concurrent distancing of the laity from the eucharist during the eucharistic liturgy.68 Miri Rubin’s discussion of the Eucharist in late medieval culture in her Corpus Christi lays out both the ritual distancing of the laity from the eucharistic celebration and the ways in which the laity constructed new means of eucharistic participation within the Mass and outside it, such as in the founding of the eucharistic feast of Corpus Christi.69 Gary Macy has also discussed the Eucharist and the means of the sacramental participation of the laity in the concluding chapter of his discussion of scholastic eucharistic theologies in Treasures from the Storeroom: Medieval Religion and the Eucharist.70 The laity’s participation in the liturgy, however, depends on one’s definition of participation, and Virginia Reinburg’s work on late medieval lay prayer has done much to complicate our modern estimations of the extent of late medieval lay liturgical participation.71 In terms of the common modern understanding of participation, meaning
Nathan Mitchell, Cult and Controversy: The Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass (New York: Pueblo, 1982). 69
Miri Rubin, Corpus Christi.
Gary Macy, Treasures from the Storeroom: Medieval Religion and the Eucharist (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1999). 71
See especially Virginia Reinburg, French Books of Hours: Making an Archive of Prayer, c.1400-1600 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 188-198; also Reinburg, “Liturgy and the
intellectual comprehension of the rite—that is, comprehension of the language of the liturgy and the ability to follow along with the priest’s prayers—lay liturgical participation was severely limited as Latin grew more distinct from the local vernacular. In Germanic lands in the late Patristic and early medieval period, then, participation would have been limited in this sense to those educated enough to understand Latin; whereas in lands where the vernacular grew out of Latin, some comprehension would have been retained at least until the turn of the millennium by those who spoke the Romance vernacular.72 In terms of oral response to the priest’s invitation to prayer (a dialogue style of participation), liturgical participation on the part of the laity continued for some time, even in the face of a lack of linguistic comprehension. With the rise of choirs, much of the liturgical responses of the congregation was aided, and later replaced, by the choir’s musical responses. In a low Mass, however, a deacon or acolyte may have supplied the people’s responses.73 Due to the growing language gulf, the increasing physical distance between priest and people, and high ritual performed in a low voice, the laity and clergy both developed alternative understandings of comprehension of and participation in the Mass. These alternatives ranged from mediatory (the priest worships, prays, and communes on behalf of the people) to the allegorical (the people, no longer understanding the words or gestures of the rite, interpret them allegorically through the lens of Christ’s passion and death) to the spiritual (infrequent communion was
Laity in late Medieval and Reformation France,” Sixteenth Century Journal 23 (1992): 526-547. Eamon Duffy has accomplished the same in late medieval England; see Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars. 72
See Mitchell, Cult and Controversy, 69-88.
Jungmann, Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. I, 236ff.
supplemented by “spiritual” or “visual” communion).74 As far as the means of liturgical participation offered by the Lord’s Prayer, however, there are three ways in which the Lord’s Prayer offered ritual entrance into the liturgy of the Mass. While the liturgy’s rubrics made no mention of the congregation, the laity were frequently encouraged, in sermons, Mass books, and other media, to pray the Lord’s Prayer quietly to themselves throughout the portion of the Mass known as the Liturgy of the Eucharist. More advanced instructions for Mass attendance might include an array of more complicated, Latinate prayers, particularly at certain points of the liturgy, but the overwhelming generic instruction was to pray the Pater Noster and Ave Maria, interspersed with personal intentions as well as a greeting and prayer at the elevation of the Host. The more basic Mass guides seemingly expected little more than quiet prayers and appropriate gesture from the laity, like one piece of Tudor-era advice that children be taught to hear the Mass “quyetly and deuoutly / moche parte knelynge. But at the gospell / at the preface / and at the Pater Noster, teche them to stande / and to make curtsy at this worde Jesus as the preest dothe.”75 More advanced guides, however, such as the late twelfth-century Norman (later English) Lay Folks Mass Book, a versed Mass guide by John Lydgate (d. 1451), and a prose guide appended to Caxton’s edition of the Golden
For further discussion, see Rubin, Corpus Christi, 147-155 and Duffy, Stripping of the Altars,
Richard Whytford, A Werke for Householders: A Dayly Exercyse and Experyence of Dethe, ed. J. Hogg, Salzburg Studies in English Literature, no. 89 (Salzburg: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Universität Salzburg), 34; Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 118.
Legend of 1483,76 offered the laity an allegorized presentation of the rituals of the Mass, both laying out the gestures and phrases of the Mass discernible to the congregation’s ears and providing readers with corresponding themes (such as salvation history or the Passion and death of Christ) by which to understand the Mass, to inspire their prayers, and to enter into the sacramental drama of the chancel. At the most basic level, intelligible and vocal liturgical participation of the laity following along with the priest’s prayers and rituals and responding in prayer) in the later Middle Ages was limited due to the barriers of language, physical distance, and the opacity of the ritual in that period. But entry into the rituals of the Mass, through prayer and gesture, was still possible at particular points of the liturgy through attempts at liturgical innovation, accommodation, and education. The first part of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word, included the introductory rites (prayers, gestures, and ritual acclamations, all undertaken by clergy and choir by the late Middle Ages), readings from Scripture (all in Latin), the recitation of the Creed (again, proclaimed by clergy and/or choir), and, occasionally, the homily (though its place in the Mass is by no means set at this point). But, in France, England, and Germany, a liturgical custom developed of presbyteral invitation to prayer and congregational response following the gospel reading and/or the homily during the Sunday Mass. Emerging from the General Intercession of the Good Friday liturgy, this late medieval litany of petitions—for peace, for secular and
The Lay Folks Mass Book, ed. Thomas Simmons (New York: Oxford University Press, 1968); Minor Poems of John Lydgate: Part I, ed. H.N. MacCraken (London: Early English Texts Society, 1911), 84-117; The Golden Legend or Lives of the Saints as Englished by William Caxton, ed. F.S. Ellis, vol. VII (London: Temple Classics, 1900), 225-262; Rubin, Corpus Christi, 98-108, 155-63; Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 118.
ecclesial rulers, for the crops, for the sick, and for the dead, among other concerns—was led by the priest and supplemented with lay prayer. As the congregational response to the priest’s calls to prayer were by this time long forgotten in liturgical practice, these “general intercessions” of the faithful, also known as the “universal prayer,” the “Bidding of the Bedes” in England (from the Anglo-Saxon for “call to prayer”), or the “prières du prône” in francophone lands, became the main, and perhaps only, dialogical exchange of presbyteral invitation to prayer and congregational response of the late Middle Ages. The priest, in the vernacular, would list a series of prayer intentions and the congregation would respond with the Pater Noster (and sometimes the Kyrie and Ave Maria, depending on the local custom).77 A pre-Norman Old English version of the Bidding prayers in the York use, featured in the late twelfth century the Lay Folks Mass Book demonstrates a litany-style version of the bidding prayers: Let us pray God Almighty, heaven’s high King, and Saint Mary and all God’s saints, that we may God Almighty’s will work, the while that we in this transitory life continue; that they us uphold and shield against all enemies’ temptations, visible and invisible: Our Father. Let us pray for our Pope in (at) Rome, and for our King, and for the Archbishop, and for the Alderman; and for all those that to (with) us hold (maintain) peace and friendship on the four sides towards (of) this holy place; and for all those that us for pray within the English nation, or without the English nation: Our Father. Let us pray for our gossips and for our God-fathers, and for our gild-fellows and gild-sisters; and [let us pray for] all those people’s prayer, who this holy place with alms seek, with light, and with
Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. I, 480-490; Gordon Jeanes, “Bidding Prayer,” The New SCM Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship, ed. Paul Bradshaw (London: SCM Press, 2002), 59-60.
tithe; and for those whom we ever their alms receiving were before (during their) life and after life: Our Father. Pray we [The remainder of the line and the two following lines, are ruled and left blank in the manuscript.] For Thorferth’s soul pray we a Pater-noster; and for many more souls, and for all the souls that baptism have undertaken and in Christ believed from Adam’s day to this day: Our Father.78 An early fifteenth-century Middle English bidding prayer, in contrast, does not appear to invite the people’s response to each petition. Instead it bids the congregation to pray a “Pater-noster and a aue” at the end of the list of intentions and to conclude with a series of psalms, Kyries, Paters, suffrages, and prayers.79 Yet the intentions themselves remain remarkably similar over the four centuries: for the Church, the Pope, the clergy and religious, for the king and kingdom, for the faithful and their offerings, for farmers and the fields, for members of the parish, especially those traveling or with child, and for the dead. It is unclear whether the congregation’s responses were in any way unified or recited as one body, as we understand liturgical response today, or consisted of simply praying quietly to themselves as the priest prayed the prayers in Latin. Nevertheless, the development of this practice of priestly invitation to prayer and narration of intentions in the vernacular, with a clear expectation of a response of prescribed prayer by the congregation, clearly inspired some of the liturgical alterations of the Reformation.80 The
The Lay Folks Mass Book, 63. My own translation.
The Lay Folks Mass Book, 64-67.
See Brightman on the Bidding of the Bedes: F.E. Brightman, The English Rite: Being a Synopsis of the Sources and Revisions of the Book of Common Prayer, vol. II (London: Rivingtons, 1915), 1025-1045.
ritual concept behind this litany, of invitation to pray for particular intentions, not only influenced the theories of liturgical participation of sixteenth-century reformers,81 but also intrigued twentieth-century liturgical reformers as well.82 The Lord’s Prayer in the second part of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Eucharist— the prayers and rites of the sacrament and its reception—has a long history in Western liturgy. Our earliest examples of the use of the Lord’s Prayer in the Western eucharistic liturgies date from the fourth century, to Augustine in North Africa. While there is no evidence of the Lord’s Prayer in the eucharistic celebration at Rome by this period, Jungmann suggests that its absence from the Roman practice, rather than its inclusion, would have been remarkable—a lack of evidence here is not indicative of its omission.83 Nevertheless, from some of the earliest evidence of the Lord’s Prayer in the Roman eucharistic liturgy, its function has always been slightly different from the function of the Lord’s Prayer in other Western Rites, not to mention Eastern Rites. Jungmann explains that in the Ambrosian, Gallican, and perhaps also the North African Rites, the Lord’s Prayer was preceded by the fraction of the bread. In Roman practice, however, the Lord’s Prayer came before the fraction. Moreover, in all non-Roman Western Rites and virtually all Eastern Rites (with the exception of the Armenian), the Lord’s Prayer was prayed together by priest and people, aloud and in unison.84 Rubrics in each of the Eastern Rites,
It has been suggested that both Luther and Cranmer took inspiration from these prayers, as we shall see in Chapter Four. 82
See Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. I, 488 n42.
Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. II, 277.
except the Armenian, assign the Lord’s Prayer to the people, although in the Byzantine Rite the prayer was taken up by the choir, which sang it as the people’s representatives. Back in the West, the Gallican Rite specified that the prayer be “pronounced by all the people in common,”85 a practice attested to by Gregory of Tours in his Miracles of St. Martin.86 Spanish practice, in contrast, assigned the people a response of “Amen” after each petition of the Lord’s Prayer as recited by the presbyter.87 The Roman Rite, however, developed a different tradition, which was attributed to Gregory the Great: believing that the apostles’ eucharistic canon consisted of the Lord’s Prayer alone, Gregory insisted that its rightful place in the eucharistic liturgy was immediately following the canon, “therefore super oblationem, that is, over the sacrificial gifts still lying upon the altar, whereas formerly the prayer was not said till immediately before the Communion, after the consecrated breads had been removed from the altar and broken.”88 And, so, understood as a part of the eucharistic canon and as the original eucharistic prayer of the apostles, from the sixth century the Lord’s Prayer in the eucharistic liturgy of the Roman Rite was recited aloud by the presbyter, the rightful orator of the eucharistic prayers.89 But, as Jungmann notes, the sense of the Lord’s Prayer as a prayer belonging to the people is not completely lost in the Roman Rite: in the eighth century there was, at the conclusion of the priest’s recitation of the prayer, a response by the 85
Gregory of Tours, The Miracles of Saint Martin, PL 71 954; Vitae Patrum, PL 71, 1076.
Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. II, 288.
Nathan Mitchell, “Courage to Say,” Worship, 177.
people—“respondentibus omnibus: sed libera nos a malo.”90 “Basically, therefore,” Jungmann insists, “the people say the Our Father along with the celebrant. It is the people’s Communion prayer.”91 While the choir and clergy eventually took over much of the people’s responses that remained in the Roman Rite (such as the sanctus),92 there is evidence that the practice of the people concluding the priest’s oration of the Lord’s Prayer with a “sed libera nos a malo” and, later, also an “Amen,” continued until the later Middle Ages in some places, as attested in a fifteenth century Ordo Missae of the York Use.93 Ritually, the praying of the Lord’s Prayer following the canon—whether including a congregational response of sed libera nos a malo or whether prayed by the priest alone, with congregational ears straining to hear it—would have signified a major ritual moment to the laity. By the late Middle Ages this point in the ritual was perhaps not on par with the elevation of the Host and its associated eucharistic devotion, but it was certainly a major moment in the ceremony, denoting, even without a prescribed congregational response, the ritual participation of the people.94 Even Mass tracts which include no congregational response during the Lord’s Prayer still instruct the laity to quietly pray the Pater Noster to themselves as the priest prays it at the altar. The priest’s
Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. II, 288.
See Jungmann, Pastoral Liturgy, 68, and The Lay Folks Mass Book, 105, 28, B. 308.
Appearing in Lay Folks’ Mass Book, 110.
See Ristuccia, “Transmission of Christendom,” 428.
oration of the prayer, prayed for all, thus still functioned for the laity as a cue for their personal recitation of the prayer. For the laity, the Lord’s Prayer could fulfill the function of ritual response throughout the eucharistic liturgy. The Lay Folks Mass Book encouraged its readers to pray the Pater Noster throughout the Liturgy of the Eucharist, especially at particularly notable moments in the ritual. These moments include: the lavabo (when the priest washes his hands) with the intention of his worthiness, at the elevation (if no other prayers were memorized), to conclude any exemplary prayers—such as those suggested during the preface, the canon, and at the elevation, as the priest concludes the canon, after the pax and the priest’s communion, at the conclusion of the Mass—and, of course, as the priest prayed the Lord’s Prayer at the altar.95 The B and E texts of the Lay Folks Mass Book not only prescribed the people’s response of “sed libera nos a malo, amen,” at the conclusion of the Pater Noster, but they also encourage “lewed” men who could not understand the prayer in Latin to privately pray the prayer in English.96 To the author of the Lay Folks Mass Book (or at least the author of the B and E texts), then, the Pater Noster was the eucharistic prayer of the laity, corresponding to the various presbyteral prayers of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Thus the Pater Noster’s recitation by the laity as accompaniment to the priest’s recitation, including the laity’s response sed libera nos a malo, amen, was ritually significant only inasmuch as the rubric was followed by the
Lay Folks Mass Book, 24-60. The text of the Lay Folks Mass Book survives in a handful of manuscripts, organized according to their textual variations. B and E texts, according to Simmons, have been ritually translated to reflect the English rubrics: Simmons, Lay Folks Mass Book, lxiff. 96
Lay Folks Mass Book, 46-47.
laity. Hence, the private recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in English immediately after its recitation and congregational response in Latin was necessary for those ignorant of Latin. This ensured that the people comprehended the prayer’s petitions, but also that they understood those petitions’ relation to the actions which followed: the presence of “daily bread” at the altar (which is frequently elevated during the prayer)97 and the demonstration of Christian unity and forgiveness exemplified in the passing of the pax that followed.98 2.1.4 The Lord’s Prayer in the Late Medieval Rite of Penance Knowledge of the Lord’s Prayer, meaning both an ability to recite it in Latin for ritual purposes (such as in the baptismal and eucharistic liturgies) and intellectual comprehension of its petitions, was constantly legislated during the late Middle Ages. From Peckham’s Ignoratia Sacerdotum of 1281 onward, the English ecclesial record demonstrates how ecclesial authorities were continually renewing the call to universal Christian knowledge of the Pater Noster, as well as the Ave, Creed, and Ten Commandments, alongside such sacramental requirements as annual reception of the eucharist and annual confession to a parish priest. Similar pastoral guidelines appeared in France, Germany, and throughout Western Europe, although the English bishops’ zeal for pastoral reform made such regulations particularly popular there. That obligation of annual confession to one’s parish priest, furthermore, as a prerequisite for Easter communion each year, served also to enforce the legislations regarding the basics of
Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, vol. II, 91.
See Duffy on the pax, Stripping of the Altars, 125-127.
Christian catechetical instruction. In addition to listing their sins for the year, parishioners were examined on their knowledge not just of the Ten Commandments, which would guide their recollection of their sins, but also on their knowledge of the Pater Noster. Thus the Pater Noster functioned both as a means to ensure that the laity properly fulfill their penance (which was frequently to pray the prayer) and to ensure that they meet the obligations of membership in Christ’s body (the Church) before recommitting to that membership by communing at Easter. As Nathan Ristuccia has explained, the connection between the Rite of Penance and the Lord’s Prayer began with early medieval penitential commutations and gained popularity with the Carolingian practice of examining penitents on their knowledge of the catechetical prayers.99 Penitential commutation was a practice, albeit a controversial one,100 of pastoral accommodation replaced long, cumbersome, expensive, or personally unattainable public penances for grave sins with more easily achievable, often less public, penitential practices. For example, while going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land might be impossible for a farmer prescribed such a penance, undertaking a miniaturized form of pilgrimage, such as to a local shrine on one’s knees, could allow him to fulfill his penance. Strict fasts, almsgiving, vigils at shrines, and various mortifications of the flesh were also options.101 Frequently canon law and penitential manuals recommended the
Ristuccia, “Transmission of Christendom,” 310, 324. See also Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars, 125-127. 100
Ristuccia, “Transmission of Christendom,” 311; Cyrille Vogel, “Composition légale et commutations dans le systeème de la penitence tarifée,” Révue de droit canonique 8 (1958): 289-318 and 9 (1959): 1-38, 341-359. 101
Ristuccia, “Transmission of Christendom,” 312.
lengthy recitation of the psalms or prayers, overwhelmingly the Lord’s Prayer, as commutation for lay penitents.102 Consequently, the popularity of the Lord’s Prayer for lay penitential commutation suggests not only that “the Lord’s Prayer was understood as the lay equivalent of more complex monastic commutations,”103 but that it also demonstrates the early medieval view of the Lord’s Prayer as the average Christian’s text for a practice of daily penitential prayer.104 Thus, in the early Middle Ages, the laity were expected to practice personal penitential piety, centered around the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, and the laity, conversely, expected that the Lord’s Prayer would factor into their assigned penance. In this way, a penitential connection between their private devotion and sacramental participation was formed, with the Lord’s Prayer functioning as the textual, ritual, and legal bond: The Lord's Prayer served as a key element of a larger penitential ritual. Its role as a critical penitential text indicates how widely known and ceremonially powerful the prayer had become. Whether the laity prayed the Pater Noster either on its own as a form of personal confession, or as a commutation prescribed by their confessor, they implicitly confirmed their need for the other branches of this tripartite system. By praying the Lord's Prayer privately for small sins only, the laity reinforced their dependence on the clergy for help with their major sins. Christian conviction arose out of Christian practice. The Lord's Prayer, moreover, even when said privately, was clearly a ritual, not just a text.105
Ibid., 320; James Dallen, The Reconciling Community: The Rite of Penance (New York: Pueblo, 1986), 61. 105
Ristuccia, “Transmission of Christendom,” 321.
This bond was further supported by the rise of private, or auricular, penance and the practice, beginning with Carolingian clergy, of examining penitents on their knowledge of the catechetical prayers.106 Knowledge of these prayers, the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, “guaranteed that the penitent was fully prepared to confess,”107 as it allowed the confessor to ensure the penitent’s orthodoxy by examining his or her knowledge of and adherence to the creedal doctrines.108 The function of the Lord’s Prayer in this examination, however, is seemingly to demonstrate, alongside doctrinal orthodoxy, the penitent’s ritual proficiency: his or her ability to pray as the Church prays, through the words that Jesus taught his disciples.109 This combination of creedal interrogation and the ritual performance of the Lord’s Prayer, then, fittingly and intentionally echoes the rite of baptism.110 Whereas baptism marked a Christian’s entrance into the community, penance marked his or her readmittance to Christian communion; the penitential examination of the catechetical prayers therefore functioned ritually as an affirmation of the redditio of the baptismal rite which, in the early Middle Ages, would have been performed by the sponsors rather than the infant neophyte.111 Therefore, a confessor’s examination of a penitent on knowledge of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer was undertaken as an effort to
Ibid., 324; Dallen, Reconciling Community, 115.
Ristuccia, “Transmission of Christendom,” 324.
While Ristuccia aptly notes the prayer’s function of confirming the penitent’s orthodoxy, he does not note the prayer’s other function as demonstrating ritual proficiency. 110
Ristuccia, “Transmission of Christendom,” 325.
ensure, on the large scale, orthodoxy and basic Christian liturgical proficiency among the lay population, and, more individually, the success of the ritual of penance for the penitent, who not only reenacted the baptismal recitation of Creed and Lord’s Prayer, but who also had to carry out the imposed penance (often requiring recitation of the Lord’s Prayer or other liturgical elements), in order to gain readmittance to communion. The practice of penitential examination of the catechetical prayers continued through the high and late Middle Ages, legislated in synodal statutes and episcopal decrees and explained in numerous pastoral manuals. As the centuries passed, however, the element of instruction, rather than the ritual element, was more frequently emphasized in legislation, literature, and pastoral manuals.112 Nevertheless, the ritual function of penitential examination of the catechetical prayers still served the purposes of reinforcing knowledge of the Pater Noster as a marker of Christian identity and a sign of Christian unity, as well as ensuring the ritual proficiency of penitents and the ritual success of the rite. For example, the late medieval poem “How the Plowman learned his Paternoster,” from a 1510 Wynkyn de Worde pamphlet, demonstrates the important catechetical connection between penance and the Lord’s Prayer113 while the ritual element functions implicitly. The plowman, a rich farmer and nominal Christian, never bothered to learn the Lord’s Prayer but still expects to be shriven by his parish priest during Lent at a time of great famine in the land. When questioned on his knowledge of the Creed and Lord’s
See, for example, the treatment of how a priest should examine penitents in John Mirk’s (d. c. 1420) Instructions for Parish Priests. John Mirk, Instructions for Parish Priests, ed. Edward Peacock (London: Early English Text Society, 1902), 25. 113
Also discussed in Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars, 84-85.
Prayer, the plowman admits that he believes what the Church teaches, but cannot recall (or even recall hearing of) the Lord’s Prayer: The plowman sayd unto the preste Syr I byleve in Jhesu cryste Which suffred deth and harrowed hell As I have herde myne olders tell The parsone sayd man late me here The saye devotely thy pater noster That thou in it no worde do lack Than sayd the plowman what thynge is that Whiche you desire to here so sore I herde never thereof before His dumbfounded priest, concerned about the plowman’s eternal fate, explains his dire situation, lists the temporal and eternal consequences of being ignorant of the prayer, and refuses to absolve him of his sins until he can recite it: The preest sayd to lerne it thou arte bounde Or elles thou lyvest as a hounde Without it saved canst thou not be Nor never have syght of the deyte From church to be banysshed aye All they that can not theyr pater noster saye Therefore I mervayll [marvel] right gretly That thy byleve was never taught the I charge the upin payne of dedly synne Lerne it, heven yf thou wylte wynne The plowman, unwilling to learn the prayer, tries to pay the priest off and gain entrance to heaven another way. His priest, realizing that the plowman requires some monetary motivation and hoping to ease the hunger of the local poor, devises a plan to both demonstrate to the plowman the value of the prayer and feed those suffering from the famine. He sends forty men, each given a Latin name corresponding to the prayer, and instructs the plowman to learn their names, in order, and give them what they ask. If he can recall their names in order, the priest promises to repay the plowman double his 53
losses and shrive him. The scheme plays out successfully: the hungry men are fed from the plowman’s abundant stores, the plowman learns the prayer, and the priest assures the plowman that his abundant reward for learning the prayer and feeding the poor is in fact heavenly treasure: The parsone sayd man be gladde this daye Thy pater noster now canst thou saye The plowman sayde gyve me my monaye The preest sayd I owe none to the to paye Thoughe though dyde they corne to poore men gyve Thou mayst be blysse whyle thou doost lyve For by these may ye paye chryste his rente And serve the lorde omnipotente114 This “little jest” illustrates the late medieval continuation of the practice of examining penitents on the Creed and Lord’s Prayer prior to the rite of penance, especially during annual Lenten confession. Its humor, moreover, derives from not only the priest’s clever besting of the greedy plowman, but also the absurdity of a successful farmer being so ignorant as to not know the Pater Noster. The jest reinforces the authoritative certainty that all laypeople must know the prayer. The priest, examining the plowman as legislation requires, lists the serious consequences of the plowman’s indifferent ignorance of the prayer: laypeople are bound to learn it and are banished from the church if they won’t, and can neither be absolved of their sins nor go to heaven without knowing the prayer. “Under pain of deadly sin” the priest charges the plowman with learning it, which highlights both the communal and spiritual effects of his error—excommunication and damnation. It is also suggestive of the inability of the late medieval ritual network of
Here begynneth a lytell gest how the plowman lerned his pater noster (London: Wynkyn de Worde, 1510), RSTC 20034.
catechetical instruction, participation, and prayer to universally catechize, despite the countless ecclesial legislations. Although the priest (and the poem’s author) do not go into detail, the plowman’s inability to pray the Pater Noster would have prevented his Lenten absolution and Easter communion, cutting him off from the parish community, and proving his lack of ritual and liturgical proficiency. Under the authority of the priest, due to the plowman’s demonstrated lack of ritual proficiency, the plowman’s confession results in ritual failure. The plowman cannot achieve ritual success until he, begrudgingly, learns the basic text of Christian ritual participation. Moreover, the confessor’s sly penance of learning the prayer while feeding the poor, emphasizes the popular late medieval connections between not only the recitation of the Pater Noster and the performance of Christian charity (giving daily bread; forgiving trespasses), but also between liturgical/sacramental participation and proper moral action. This “lytell gest” reveals a ritual framework of Christian formation that, while it could not ensure universal catechesis or complete ritual conformity by the laity, at least functioned to catch those that would slip through the cracks and provide a means for them to attain the catechetical knowledge and ritual proficiency necessary to participate in the worship life of the church community.
2.2 The Lord’s Prayer in Late Medieval Parish Life The connection between liturgical participation and virtuous living, illustrated by sermons and stories, imagery and exempla, and embodied in the Lord’s Prayer, was communicated and confirmed in the endlessly intricate web of the late medieval catechetical milieu. Religious instruction in the Middle Ages was not the systematic, 55
didactic form of education with which we are familiar today, nor was it akin to the catechetical process exemplified in Patristic sources on Christian initiation. While medieval catechisms—texts for the basic instruction of Christians—did exist, the more simple catechisms, such as Jean Gerson’s L’ABC des simples gens,115 contained only the bare catechetical texts or even a mere outline of the catechetical canon (the Pater Noster, the Creed, the Ten Commandments, the deadly sins, virtues, and so on) for the sake of memorization, while the more complex catechisms, such as the 1357 Lay Folks’ Catechism,116 assumed a prior thorough knowledge of and proficiency in those texts, particularly the prayer texts. Moreover, since the laity for the most part lacked access to these texts due to scarcity, poverty, or illiteracy, these catechisms would have been primarily for the use of the clergy, for pastoral care, or, rarely, for the educated laity. Thus catechisms, in the medieval form of the genre, were not the prevalent instruments of Christian formation that they became in the sixteenth century; they were a resource for the instruction of Christians for the sake of further formation through participation in the practices and community of the local Church. Catechisms sought to report the necessary texts of Christian liturgical, spiritual, theological, and moral formation, inasmuch as those texts were required for participation in the life of the Church, but the knowledge of those texts was not the end goal. Moreover, the central place of the Lord’s Prayer in medieval catechesis—its function in Christian life and its necessary mastery for Christian liturgical
See Jean Gerson, “ABC des simples gens,” Œuvres completes, ed. P. Glorieux, vol. VII (Paris: Desclée, 1966), 154-157. 116
The Lay Folks’ Catechism, ed. Thomas Frederick Simmons and Henry Edward Nolloth, EETS (London: Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1901).
and sacramental participation—reveals the true purpose of medieval catechesis: ritual proficiency for the sake of ritual participation, as participation was the true marker and shaper of Christian identity. As has been discussed, Christian formation, including learning, praying, and teaching the Lord’s Prayer in the Middle Ages, was primarily achieved by means of liturgical participation and sacramental reception, familial instruction, and penitential examination. But it was also reinforced by the lifelong experience of parish life, in daily prayer and the liturgical year, through sermons, art, architecture, drama, and through simply living, belonging, participating, and worshipping in Christian community. The Lord’s Prayer could be found in virtually every aspect of the late medieval layperson’s participation in parish life: in the rhythms of the church’s daily prayer and the sermons of the liturgical seasons, in the ornamentation and architecture of the church building itself, and in the laity’s own communities of prayer and participation—religious guilds and confraternities. 2.2.1 The Function of the Lord’s Prayer in Daily Prayer Before the Rosary became the symbol of lay Catholic devotional prayer in the early modern period, the Pater Noster and related devotional patterns held a place of prominence. In fact, historians of the Rosary trace its conceptual origins—a devotional prayer practice patterned on the rhythms of daily monastic prayer, frequently using a string of beads or knots to keep count—to “paternoster beads.” These early medieval instruments and patterns of devotion were later used by lay brothers of the Carthusian and Cistercian monasteries who could not manage to pray the Divine Office, and
consequently by other laypeople as well.117 But the Lord’s Prayer still played a large role in the laity’s approach to the daily prayer of the church. Although it diminished in widespread lay attendance and general esteem from its antique origins, there still continued in the late Middle Ages the practice of daily prayer in the cathedral and parish churches.118 The laity likely participated in this daily rhythm of liturgical prayer in a manner similar to their liturgical participation in the Mass—lacking the necessary texts for participation in singing the psalms and praying the regular prayers of the Office, the laity supplemented their limited comprehension of the Latin prayers and one hundred and fifty psalms with a simpler format and the recitation of memorized prayers, such as Pater Nosters and Ave Marias. As historians of the Rosary have demonstrated, the lay use of Pater Noster beads and Rosaries in the Middle Ages can be traced to this practice of lay imitation of the monastic and cathedral offices.119 For the literate laity, moreover, the “little” offices, such as the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Office for the Dead, which were extra-liturgical offices for personal devotion in the monasteries, served as a more “official” pattern of prayer imitative of the monastic
Anne Winston-Allen, Stories of the Rose: The Making of the Rosary in the Middle Ages (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997), 14-15. 118
Paul Bradshaw, “Whatever Happened to Daily Prayer?” Worship 64:1 (Jan 1990), 14.
George Guiver, C.R., Company of Voices: Daily Prayer and the People of God (New York: Pueblo, 1988), 107.
Office.120 These offices, bound with a variety of other devotional prayers, formed the content of the wildly popular Books of Hours of the late Middle Ages.121 These practices of lay imitation of monastic prayer could easily be achieved in the privacy of one’s home, but lay daily prayer was not necessarily a private, individual practice. For example, an Italian envoy to England at the close of the fifteenth century, describing English religious practices, hints at what a public (albeit not communal) version of lay daily prayer might have looked like: “…they all attend Mass every day, and say many Paternosters in public, (the women carrying long Rosaries in their hands, and any who can read taking the office of our Lady with them, and with some companion reciting it in the church verse by verse, in a low voice, after the manner of churchmen)…”122 This observer connects the practice of “many Paternosters” being prayed in public and the recitation of a devotional office by the laity within the church to the English laity’s daily Mass attendance, from which most scholars have concluded that the laity prayed their devotional offices during the daily Mass.123 But such a conclusion does not necessarily follow: this public praying of the Pater Noster and the Little Office could just as well have occurred prior to Mass or after the Mass had finished. Indeed, the anonymous fifteenth century manual for religious practice, “Instructions for a Devout and
Bradshaw, “Daily Prayer,” 16.
See Eamon Duffy, Marking the Hours: English People & their Prayers, 1240-1570 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 5-22. 122
A Relation, or rather, a true account of the Island of England: with sundry particulars of the customs of these people and of the royal revenues under King Henry the Seventh, about the year 1500, trans. Charlotte Augusta Sneyd (London: The Camden Society, 1847), 23. 123
Guiver, Company of Voices, 109.
Literate Layman,” suggest that the layman’s daily Mass attendance involved saying the “matins of the Blessed Virgin” before the Mass began and “one fifty of the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin” (equivalent to five decades of the Rosary), after the Mass had concluded.124 The presence of an aforementioned companion and their low-voiced recitation of each line of the office in the Italian’s account suggests that this practice might not have functioned well as a devotion performed during the Mass or Office, as basic instruction on pious and proper Mass attendance and participation might not have allowed for practices which required so much of the participant’s attention. For example, if the laity were instructed to pay attention to the priest’s prayers and actions, to interpret them according to an allegorical scheme, kneel and stand at the prescribed times, respond in prayer at the prescribed times, hear the homily, and await the elevation of the host, the praying of the Pater Noster, and await the passing of the pax, there would have been little ritual downtime, let alone a long enough lull in the choir’s singing, to allow for such a methodical praying of even Our Lady’s little office. Moreover, a low daily Mass, perhaps said at a side altar or chapel, afforded the laity much closer proximity to the altar and the prayers and rituals that took place there during Liturgy of the Eucharist; even the most dedicated devotee to the Little Offices would have turned his or her attention to the altar at the consecration. While it is impossible to argue definitively about the specifics of particular lay practices of prayer and participation during the Mass and the Daily Office, due to both the lack of evidence and the diversity of practices, scholars must be
Pantin, W.A., “Instructions for a Devout Layman,” Medieval Learning and Literature: Essays Presented to Richard William Hunt, ed. J.J.G. Alexander and M.T. Gibson (New York: Oxford University Press, 1972), 398-400.
careful not to oversimplify or discredit lay methods of prayerful participation in the liturgies of the Church. Furthermore, late medieval Books of Hours, the laity’s only resource for the devotional Little Offices, were by no means standardized. As Eamon Duffy notes in his Marking the Hours, Books of Hours presented no clear polarities between text and memorization, liturgy and devotion, book and bead, not to mention “official” and “popular” prayer; from the earliest extant English Book of Hours through each successive generation of the genre, the basic catechetical prayers—particularly the Pater and the Ave—existed side-by-side with the Rosary, the Little Hours, and devotional images for prayer and contemplation in the Books.125 Thus even in the most “elite” settings of the Daily Office for the laity, the simple Lord’s Prayer retained its prominence as a liturgical prayer for the laity. 2.2.2 The Function of the Lord’s Prayer in Sermons and the Liturgical Year Since the Gospel accounts of the Lord’s Prayer—Matthew 6:5-16 and Luke 11:113—were never read on Sundays or holy days during the late medieval lectionary cycle, homilies on the Lord’s Prayer are not frequently found in surviving late medieval sermon collections.126 Nevertheless, the Lord’s Prayer held a special place in the seasonal rhythms of the Church’s liturgical year, as it was commonly associated with Lent, the penitential season preceding the Triduum and Easter, and Rogationtide, three days of penitential fasting and procession preceding the Feast of the Ascension. By the late
Duffy, Marking the Hours, 17.
Paul W. Robinson, “Sermons on the Lord’s Prayer and the Rogation Days in the Later Middle Ages,” in A History of Prayer: The First to the Fifteenth Century, ed. Roy Hammerling (Boston: Brill, 2008), 448.
Middle Ages, following centuries of early medieval Carolingian catechetical and homiletic legislation127 and high medieval synodal and diocesan statues, parish priests were expected to preach on the catechetical syllabus—the Lord’s Prayer, Creed, Ave Maria, Ten Commandments, vices and virtues—at least four times a year.128 While sermons on the Lord’s Prayer could have been preached at any point during the liturgical year, and are rarely found within the temporal or sanctoral cycles of late medieval homilary collections, the penitential seasons of Lent and Rogationtide became the most frequent occasions to preach on the Lord’s Prayer.129 Lent—although now, as in the late Middle Ages, popularly understood as a penitential season—originally began as a season of baptismal preparation and catechetical instruction for those who were to be baptized on the Paschal vigil.130 In the so-called golden age of early Christian initiation, preserved in the catechetical and mystagogical homilies of the likes of Ambrose of Milan, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Augustine of Hippo, hopeful converts became catechumens each year, underwent catechetical instruction and ritual exorcism during the weeks leading up to Pascha, were baptized, sealed with the Spirit, and communed at the Paschal vigil, and were further
See Jean Longère, La prédication medieval (Paris: Études Augustiniennes, 1983), 46-47; Paul W. Robinson, “Lord, Teach Us to Pray: Preaching the Pater Noster in Germany and Austria, 1100-1500,” (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 2001), 2. 128
Robinson, “Teach Us to Pray,” 3; G.R. Owst, Preaching in Medieval England: An Introduction to Sermon Manuscripts of the Period c.1350-1450 (New York: Russell and Russell, Inc., 1965), 282. 129
Robinson, “Teach us to Pray,” 26, 30; Robinson, “Lord’s Prayer and Rogation Days,” 449.
For the baptismal origins of Lent, see Maxwell E. Johnson, “From Three Weeks to Forty Days,” Studia Liturgica 20:2 (1990), 185-200; reprinted in Johnson, ed., Living Water, Sealing Spirit: Readings on Christian Initiation (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical press, 1995), 118-136.
educated by post-baptismal mystagogical sermons in the days that followed. As the decades and centuries passed, however, the numbers of adult conversions dwindled and most of those seeking baptism were the young children of believers. At the same time, those who had been baptized in their youth and had sinned gravely to the point of expulsion from the church’s sacramental worship and community life could seek reentry into the life of the church through a penitential process that was analogous to the original initiation process. So, while Lent began to lose its baptismal and initiatory emphases, it gained instead a penitential character. Instead of the forty days of fasting, exorcism, and instruction for initiation into the church, late antique and early medieval penitents endured forty days of fasting, exorcism, and instruction for reconciliation and reentry into communion with the church. And, just as with the catechumens, the members of the church community were not passive observers of initiation or reconciliation; they fasted with, prayed for, and witnessed to the conversions of the catechumens and penitents alike, as the preparatory season of Lent was not just preparation for initiation for catechumens or preparation for reconciliation for penitents, but was a season of communal preparation for the great feast of Pascha. Moreover, despite this major shift in Lent’s ritual orientation and outcome in the late antique and early medieval period, preaching and instruction on catechetical themes—such as the Lord’s Prayer—continued during and after the shift.131 Lenten sermons on the Lord’s Prayer were frequently preached near the beginning of Lent, on or around Ash Wednesday; in early medieval practice, according to Ristuccia,
this was to highlight the penitential function of the prayer.132 But by the late Middle Ages, early Lenten preaching on the Lord’s Prayer no longer tied the prayer to penitential practice, despite the important role that the Lord’s Prayer still played in the late medieval rite of penance. Surviving late medieval Pater Noster sermons for the beginning of Lent, such as Nicholas of Cusa’s during Carnival in Vienna in 1451133 or the sermon inserted between Quinquagesima Sunday and the First Sunday in Lent from the Northern Homily Cycle in the late-fourteenth-century Vernon Manuscript entitled “Pater Noster for Saint Bernard’s Palfrey,”134 do not reflect a penitential interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer. Rather, these late medieval Pater Noster sermons for the beginning of Lent tend to emphasize the catechetical function of the Lord’s Prayer either, in Nicholas of Cusa’s case, as a theological exposition of the prayer or, in the case of the Northern Homily Cycle, as a morality tale on how to pray devoutly. Although the late medieval approach to the Lenten season certainly retained the penitential character that developed in the early medieval period, it is interesting that the sermons on the Lord’s Prayer during Lent in the later Middle Ages seem to have lost the penitential tone that Ristuccia convincingly argues early medieval Lenten Pater Noster sermons had. This may be due to the frequent use of the Lord’s Prayer for penitential commutation and the devotional use of the prayer by public penitents during Lent in the early Middle Ages, practices that waned over the
Ibid., 335-336; 349-352.
Robinson, “Teach Us to Pray,” 26.
“Pater Noster for Saint Bernard’s Palfrey,” in A Facsimile Edition of The Vernon Manuscript: Oxford, Bodleian Library MS. Eng. Poet. A.1., ed. Wendy Scase, vol. 3 of Bodleian Digital Texts, 2011, fol. 180v.
centuries. The catechetical turn of Lenten Pater Noster sermons from the later Middle Ages, in contrast, could be ascribed to the post-Lateran-IV emphasis on catechetical preaching, particularly in preparation for Easter confession, which required the ability to recite the Lord’s Prayer. Moreover, these catechetical late medieval Lenten Pater Noster Sermons frequently emphasize the proper place of the Lord’s Prayer in the lives of the faithful, either in their daily prayers and conduct at Mass or in relation to Christian practice—the sacraments, the vices, and the virtues—which we shall see was the most common theme for any late medieval Pater Noster sermon, not just those preached during Lent. Late medieval sermons on the Lord’s Prayer for the occasion of the Rogation Days, furthermore, do not retain the penitential character that Ristuccia notes in early medieval Pater Noster sermons for Rogationtide. Rather, these Pater Noster Rogationtide sermons tend to treat the Lord’s Prayer as a guide to proper prayer to God, noting the petition for deliverance from evil, but also frequently touching on the passage which follows Jesus teaching the Our Father in Luke: “ask and ye shall receive.” Rogation days were three days of parish-wide fasting, prayer, and procession for deliverance from natural disaster and in petition for a good crop.135 The ritual function of the Lord’s Prayer during these days of penance and petition is unclear, though the Pater Noster made an appropriate addition to the litanies prayed in procession, as the laity could easily participate in both the praying of the Lord’s Prayer and the “ora pro nobis” of the litanies. Yet the Pater Noster sermons for Rogation days do not discuss this liturgical
Robinson, “Sermons on the Lord’s Prayer,” 444-445.
connection between the Lord’s Prayer and the prayers of the Rogation liturgies and processions. Instead, Rogationtide Pater Noster sermons for the later Middle Ages emphasize the petitionary nature of the Lord’s Prayer, drawing from its petitions and Jesus’ explanation of prayer in Luke 11:5 a theology of petitionary prayer, which preachers used to illustrate the necessity and efficacy of petitionary prayer in general, and in the context of Rogationtide in particular.136 As late medieval Lenten Pater Noster sermons generally tended toward liturgical catechesis by teaching the laity how to pray the prayer with proper devotion, Rogationtide Pater Noster sermons tended toward liturgical theology by instructing the laity on the nature of Christian petitionary and intercessory prayer. In a parallel manner, late medieval Pater Noster sermons not tied to a particular season, which describes the majority of extant late medieval sermons on the Lord’s Prayer, typically followed a third pattern of explaining and teaching the Lord’s Prayer to lay audiences. In line with most medieval theological treatments of the prayer, beginning with Augustine,137 non-occasional late medieval Pater Noster sermons regularly divide the prayer into seven petitions and give a theological interpretation of each. In an innovation from early and high medieval treatments, however, late medieval treatments of the Lord’s Prayer would frequently further relate each of the seven petitions of the prayer to different aspects of Christian life and worship—the seven virtues and vices, seven sacraments, and, from time to time, seven popular saints or seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Stevenson, The Lord’s Prayer, 77-84.
This common catechetical scheme—seven petitions matched to the seven vices (to avoid) and seven virtues (to cultivate) as well as the seven sacraments—effectively and memorably connected the Lord’s Prayer to the sacramental life of the Church. This scheme also connected the layperson’s spiritual life to his or her lived ethic, providing not only abundant material for personal reflection and examination of conscience in a penitential setting, but also the means of sanctification through prayer, virtuous habit, and participation in the sacraments. Pope Innocent III, likely not the originator of this scheme but certainly one of its earliest and most famous advocates, explains this pattern of Christian formation with a medical analogy: “Man is the patient; God is the doctor; the Deadly Sins are the ailments; the petitions of the Pater Noster are the complaints and groans of the patient; the gifts of the Holy Spirit are the antidotes; the virtues are the signs of a return to health; and the Beatitudes are the resultant joyful celebrations.”138 Although the particular rendering of this scheme varied from sermon to sermon and across the span of the later Middle Ages, the vast majority of late medieval Pater Noster sermons took up this wildly popular catechetical outline of the Lord’s Prayer. The evolution of homiletic treatments of the Lord’s Prayer from the early Middle Ages to the late Middle Ages illustrates centuries of changing ritual contexts and subsequent ecclesial and pastoral response: the re-ritualization of the Lord’s Prayer, parallel to a re-ritualization of Christian formation. Ristuccia, discussing the early medieval transformation of Patristic ritual catechesis, explains how the innovative
Vincent Gillespie, “Thy Will Be Done: Piers Plowman and the Paternoster,” in Late-Medieval Religious Texts and their Transmission: Essays in Honor of A.I. Doyle, ed. Alistair J. Minnis (Rochester, NY: Boydell & Brewer, 1994), 101; Patrologia Latina 217:897-899.
Carolingian repurposing of Patristic ritual resulted in the use of traditional liturgical patterns for changing needs: Catechesis was no longer primarily a baptismal preparation, but an element of a larger ritual of expiation. Early medieval writers often created new texts by selectively compiling, editing, and adapting excerpts from Patristic authors. The early medieval re-ritualization of instruction should be understood as something similar: an innovative attempt to re-arrange and re-interpret elements of late antique ceremonies to form new rituals imbued with different purposes and meaning.139 In just this manner did late medieval pastoral reformers, responding to the renewed emphasis on the integrative approach to catechesis, liturgical participation, and the spiritual lives of the laity following the pastoral legislations of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215, “re-arrange and reinterpret” their pastoral forebears for the needs of the late medieval Church. Where early medieval Pater Noster sermons, particularly those at Lent and Rogationtide, reflected the appropriation of Patristic catechesis for the changing liturgical and cultural landscape of the Carolingian context, so too do these late medieval Pater Noster homilies also reveal a late medieval re-appropriation, of both the early medieval heritage of Patristic models and of high medieval catechetical innovation. By incorporating the Patristic and early medieval tradition of the prayer’s sevenfold petitions and their theological interpretation with the basic schema of vices, virtues, sacraments, and more, late medieval clergy underscored the post-Lateran-IV pastoral emphasis on integrated catechesis for the laity: liturgical, moral, sacramental, and spiritual instruction for holistic Christian formation.
Ristuccia, “Transmission of Christindom,” 390.
2.2.3 The Function of the Lord’s Prayer in the Parish Experience The ubiquitous nature of the Lord’s Prayer in the lived faith of the late medieval laity is difficult to demonstrate from surviving material evidence, since little material evidence of medieval church life—at least materials used by the laity—remains. While the clergy’s sacramental chalices and sumptuous liturgical vestments were preserved or appropriated for other purposes, the material evidence of lay piety fell out of use, was destroyed during the Reformation, or simply deteriorated. Furthermore, what little decorative material did survive—carved in stone or referred to in extant textual evidence—paints only a small part of the larger picture of the function of the Lord’s Prayer in late medieval lay religiosity, due to the limited usefulness of displayed text in the late Middle Ages and the difficulty of symbolically or artistically representing a prayer without text. Some evidence of late medieval church adornment with the text of the Pater Noster still exists, such as a fourteenth-century baptismal font in Lincolnshire, which is inscribed with the following rhyme: “Pater Noster, Ave Maria, Criede, Leren the child yt is nede,” a mandate for godparents and parents that is repeated in manuals from Winchester, Sarum, and York.140 A Pater Noster window, which perhaps thematically or allegorically depicted the petitions of the prayer, was at one time installed at Malvern Priory in England, though it was destroyed during the Reformation.141 Some churches
See Rossell Hope Robbins, “Prayers in Middle English Verse,” Modern Philology 40:2 (Nov 1942): 143; Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 53; Maskell, Monumenta ritualia ecclesiae Anglicanae,vol. 1 (London: W. Pickering, 1846), 28, quoted in Robbins, “Prayers,” 53; Manuale et Processionale Ad Usum Insignis Ecllesiae Eboracensis (London: Andrews & Co, 1875), 17. 141
M.D. Anderson, Drama and Imagery in English Medieval Churches (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1963), 60.
displayed catechism tablets, painted with the texts of the Lord’s Prayer, Creed, Ave Maria, and/or the Ten Commandments, for lay edification; their use is required in the diocese of Cambrai by a 1260 statute142 and Nicholas of Cusa advocated their use in his diocese of Brixen.143 But the efficacy of displaying the text of the Pater Noster and other prayers in churches for lay use during the late Middle Ages was, at best, limited, due to low lay literacy rates. As we shall see in the next chapter, this method of displaying prayer and catechetical texts was revived in early modern Protestant churches, both due to increased literacy and as a means of non-idolatrous church decoration. Yet even with these late medieval limitations, in the fourteenth century in England a group of laypeople formed a guild in York dedicated to the Lord’s Prayer, and one of the guild’s obligations was to display and maintain “a certain drawing which hangs above a column in the cathedral church…and depicts the layout and usefulness of the Lord’s Prayer.”144 The “certain drawing” of the Pater Noster at York, depicting the prayer’s “layout and usefulness,” rather than just its text, seems to be more than just another catechism tablet; from this description, the Pater Noster image at York is most likely a Pater Noster Table, such as can be found in the Vernon Manuscript from the late fourteenth century.
Aden Kumler, Translating Truth, 33.
Paul W. Robinson, "Lord, Teach Us to Pray,” 27.
Records of Early English Drama: York, ed. A.F. Johnson and M. Rogerson, vol. 2 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979), 864, quoted in Gillespie, “Thy Will Be Done,” 98.
Figure 1.1: The Pater Noster Table in the Vernon Manuscript. A Facsimile Edition of The Vernon Manuscript: Oxford, Bodleian Library MS. Eng. Poet. A.1., ed. Wendy Scase. Vol. 3 Bodleian Digital Texts (Oxford, Bodleian Library: 2011), fol. 231v.
This facsimile of the Vernon Manuscript’s Pater Noster Table provides us with the basic outline of what a late medieval version of a “certain drawing” of the Pater Noster might have looked like. This particular table features the text of the Lord’s Prayer, in Latin and Middle English, divided into seven petitions, each petition relating to a vice, a virtue, and a gift of the Holy Spirit. This table, however, displays more than just the text of the prayer or even the conceptual relationship between each petition and each vice, virtue, and gift. The Pater Noster Table goes one step further, describing how each petition of the prayer “ledeþ a man to” a particular gift of the Holy Spirit, which in turn “ledeþ a man to” a certain virtue, which then “is a ȝenst” a corresponding vice. The pattern of how one should read the table, in Latin and Middle English, then, is: “Per peticiones peruenitur ad dona per dona ad virtutes & virtutes sunt contra vicia” (“Through the petitions arriving at the gifts, through the gifts to the virtues, and the virtues are contrary to the vices”).145 The first petition and corresponding concepts in Latin, then, reads: “Pater noster qui es in celis s[anc]tificetur n[omen] t[uum] –– Timor diu – humilitas – contra – Superbia.” Or, in Middle English (with the “connective tissue” of the repeated phrases underlined): “Þis prier - fadur þat in heuene þi nome is blessed - leduþ a man to Drede of god - leduþ a man to - mekenesse and louenesse - is aȝenst - Pruide & stownesse.”146 The discrepancy between the Latin text and its Middle English glosses suggests that the table’s creator is more than merely translating the Latin to the
Note the parallels to Innocent III’s explanation of the use of the prayer on page 67.
Example from Anna Gottschall, “The Lord's Prayer in Circles and Squares: An Identification of some Analogues of the Vernon Manuscript's Pater Noster Table,” Marginalia 7 (2008), http://www.marginalia.co.uk/journal/08confession/circles.php.
vernacular, he is interpreting the concepts of this tabular rendering of the Lord’s Prayer in the context of Christian practice and pastoral instruction,147 according to a popular late medieval catechetical outline. The conceptual similarities, then, between this table and the multitude of late medieval Pater Noster sermons and catechetical works, such as the Speculum Vitae which follows the Pater Noster Table in the Vernon Manuscript, illustrate the widespread popularity of the late medieval integrative scheme of catechesis, with the Lord’s Prayer forming the conceptual backbone. While the imaginative visual rendering of the Lord’s Prayer in a diagram from the Vernon Manuscript may be a rare surviving example, the York Pater Noster guild’s reference to a similar drawing in York Cathedral serves as corroborating evidence for the use of comparable images of the Pater Noster in late medieval parish life. Images, however, were not the only means of artistically and memorably rendering both the Pater Noster prayer and the integrative role it played in late medieval catechesis and formation. More famous than the Pater Noster drawing maintained by the Pater Noster Guild at York was the guild’s other endeavor: the funding and performance of a now-lost Pater Noster Play. The York Pater Noster Play is thought to be the earliest morality play in England, dating back to at least to 1378 when John Wycliffe mentions the play’s regular performance at York.148 Similar Pater Noster plays were performed in Beverly and Lincoln, but less evidence survives of those plays than even the one performed at York, of which we know very little beyond the fact that it was performed at least until 1572.
John Wycliffe, De Officio Pastorali (1378) in English Works, ed. F.D. Matthew (London: Trübner & Co, 1880), 429.
The Pater Noster Play, like the Pater Noster Table and the seven-part Pater Noster Sermons, used the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer as the foundation upon which the characteristics of the moral Christian life—cultivating virtues, avoiding vices, receiving the sacraments, living the Beatitudes—are built. The York Pater Noster Play paid special attention to the vices and virtues as they related to the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer: the play itself likely consisted of dramatic allegorical interpretations of each of the seven vices, which were understood as impediments to praying the particular corresponding petition of the Lord’s Prayer,149 and the seven virtues, which helped Christians to overcome vice and made them worthy of praying the Prayer’s petitions. As one late medieval sermon describes the logical flow: The proud, who do not consider other men as brothers, cannot call God “Our Father”; the envious do not wish His Kingdom to come and those who are wrathful against their fellows do not obey His Will. The slothful neglect those religious exercises which are our spiritual “daily bread” and those who covet the goods of others will not forgive their debts and so cannot pray for forgiveness. Gluttony is interpreted in terms of drunkenness because this leads a man into all manner of temptation. The sin of lechery is so attractive that many men will not abjure it, even on their deathbeds, and so cannot pray for deliverance from evil and die unrepentant, believing that their sins are greater than God’s mercy, which, so the preacher explains, is the sin against the Holy Ghost.150 But at the same time, as the pastoral writer John Mirk explained at the end of the fourteenth century, the petitions themselves aid in combatting vice: “in the ‘Pater Noster’ there are seven prayers which each man and woman have great need to pray to God for; 149
Impediments in that the personal embodiment of the vice belies the graces prayed for in the corresponding petitions. 150
Anderson, Drama and Imagery, 62.
for they put away the seven deadly sins, and gain the grace of God for all that mankind needs, both for life and soul.”151 While practicing a particular vice would lead to an ethical discontinuity when praying the Pater Noster, the act of praying the Pater Noster itself aids in forming a virtuous person and in discouraging the vices. In the message and performance of the Pater Noster Play, prayer life and moral life, sin and grace, personal prayer and communal worship are all here connected through the Lord’s Prayer. The York Pater Noster Guild, like most religious guilds and confraternities of the late Middle Ages, might have championed a particular goal, such as religious instruction, or might have been dedicated to a particular saint or devotion, like Corpus Christi guilds, but they all served to unite confraternity members in mission, spirituality, and worship— not unlike an informal religious order—for the sake of personal and communal sanctification. Miri Rubin’s discussion of the popular late medieval Corpus Christi guilds in England and their charitable, theatrical, liturgical, sacramental, catechetical, and devotional activities152 is analogous to the sort of work undertaken by the Pater Noster guilds of York and elsewhere. Other catechetically-focused confraternities, such as Bishop Nicolò Albergati’s catechism confraternity in early fifteenth century Bologna, also took up these communal activities.153 Yet, among all of these lay organizations, it
My translation of Mirk’s Middle English sermon: “yn þe ‘Pater Noster’ ben vij prayers þe which yche man and woman haue gret nede forto pray God for; for þat puttyth away þe vij dedly synnys, and getyth grace of God forto haue all þat man dedyth forto haue necessary, bo þe to þe lyfe and to þe soule.” John Mirk, “Sermon on the Lord’s Prayer,” Mirk’s Festial: A Collection of Homilies, pt. 1, ed. Theodor Erre (London: EETS, 1905), 282. 152
Rubin, Corpus Christi, 232-243.
John O’Malley, S.J., Trent: What Happened at the Council? (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press,
was prayer, more than any other single activity, which united, identified, and formed its members; among each confraternity and guild’s liturgical, devotional, catechetical, charitable, and initiatory activities, prayer—to begin meetings, to mark the passage of time, to mark membership, for the dead, for the ill, for those in need, and to shape the community—which formed and identified their members and which unified all of their endeavors.154 While confraternities and guilds were formal organizations with clear missions and means of participation, they allow us insight into the experiential, embodied, social aspects of what Christian formation in community would have looked like and just how integral prayer—especially the Lord’s Prayer—was to Christian practice in community.
2.3 The Function of the Lord’s Prayer in Lay Private Prayer and Devotion The centrality of the Lord’s Prayer in lay liturgical prayer and sacramental participation, catechesis and Christian formation, and private prayer and devotion in the Middle Ages cannot be overstated. It is clear from the manuscript record that church authorities saw knowledge of the Lord’s Prayer, along with the other catechetical prayers, as the key to lay catechesis, devotion, and liturgical participation and so they sought, through the means available to them, to ensure universal knowledge of these prayers.155 But while ecclesial legislation, liturgical directives, and pastoral instructions can give us insight into the effort that the clergy was putting into this catechetical endeavor in the
See Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 141-154.
Ristuccia, “Transmission of Christendom,” 393.
Middle Ages, it is more difficult to estimate the effectiveness of the clerical undertaking. In the first chapter of her work, Translating Truth, Aden Kumler describes the late medieval clergy’s understanding of religious instruction as a “top down” or even “trickle down” model of religious knowledge of higher standards for clergy and the expectation that they would pass that knowledge on to the laity.156 Much of our evidence for catechetical instruction of the laity regarding the Lord’s Prayer revolves around this genre of pastoralia for lay instruction, revealing much of late medieval clerical ideals of lay catechesis, prayer, and liturgical participation, but little of lay reception and practice. Nathan Ristuccia, in contrast, looks to the place of the Pater Noster (and, relatedly, the Creed) in popular belief as evidence for its reception in the early Middle Ages. Using records of invocation of the prayer in everyday life, its use in charms and incantations, and instances of its appearance in ceremonies of judicial ordeal, whereby the defendant swears to the authenticity of his or her testimony by recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, Ristuccia paints a rich picture of the function of the Lord’s Prayer in early medieval lay prayer lives, spanning the continuum of licit and illicit practice, and illustrating the widespread popularity and high degree of ritual power attributed to the Lord’s Prayer.157 Obviously, primers, prayer books, and Books of Hours for lay usage provide ample evidence for the important role of the Lord’s Prayer in late medieval lay prayer, but these lay prayer books, in their imitation of clerical and monastic prayer and by virtue of their textual nature, provide us with only one particular window into late medieval lay prayer.
Kumler, Translating Truth, 28-29.
See Ristuccia, “Transmission of Christendom,” 392-459.
While lay prayer books can help us to better understand lay prayer practices and are useful as hard evidence for illustrating larger trends, they do not accurately represent the prayer practices of the majority of the late medieval laity and so cannot be taken as our only evidence. 2.3.1 The Lord’s Prayer in Lay Prayer The laity were exhorted, in catechetical works, sermons, and diocesan decrees, to pray the Lord’s Prayer daily, or, recalling the Church’s own patterns of daily liturgical prayer, twice daily. Kumler provides a handful of legislative measures that prescribe daily patterns of recalling and reciting the catechetical prayers. In Cambrai, it was ordered that “priests should instruct the laity to recite the Pater Noster, Ave Maria, and Credo twice daily, once in the morning and once at night.”158 In Litchfield, the laity were instructed to pray the Pater and Ave seven times a day, and the Credo in the morning and evening.159 Theodulf, Bishop of Orleans, also encouraged the twice-daily recitation of the Lord’s Prayer.160 These legislations and exhortations continued through the late Middle Ages, as John Mirk instructs his priests to teach their flocks to pray the prayer once a day
Joseph Avril, ed., Les Statuts Synodaux Français du XIIIe siècle: Tome 4, Les Statuts Synodaux de l’ancienne province de Reim (Paris: Éditions du Comité des Travaux historiques et scientifiques, 1985), 123, cited in Kumler, Translating Truth, 34. 159
F.M. Powicke and C.R. Cheney, eds., Councils & Synods: Vol. II, A.D. 1205-1313; Part I, 1205-1265 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964), 213; see also Kumler, Translating Truth, 35. 160
Theodulf of Orlean, Capitula episcoporum, vol. 1. can. 22 in Monumenta Germaniae historica (Hannoverae : Impensis Bibliopolii Aulici Hahniani, 1845), 119, cited in Nicole Bériou, Jacques Berlioz, Jean Longère, eds., Prier au Moyen Age (Turnhout: Brepols, 1991), 171.
or as often as three times a day, in the case of a parishioner struggling with spiritual sloth.161 The particular practices of prayer that the laity might have turned to—for their daily prayers, in times of need, or for particular occasions—varied. The Books of Hours tended to favor paraliturgical texts, such as the devotional Offices (of the Blessed Virgin or of the Cross, for example),162 or prayers to be said during the Mass (such as elevation prayers),163 but more private devotional texts were also popular, such as prayers of devotion to a particular saint (especially the Virgin Mary) or images of devotion (such as the Joys of the Virgin or the Instruments of Christ’s Passion).164 Two incredibly popular types of prayer text are especially illustrative of the penitential and purgatorial inclination of late medieval piety: the Penitential Psalms and the related Litany of the Saints and the Office of the Dead.165 These devotional prayer texts were used, on the one hand, as a guide for penitential devotion and an instrument for personal intercessory mercy, and, on the other hand, as a guide for memorial devotion and an instrument for intercessory mercy for another. Furthermore, numerous devotions, preached by clergy and appearing in handwritten prayer books, in printed pamphlets, or even in broadsheets and leaflets (by
John Mirk, Instructions for Parish Priests, 13, 50.
Roger S. Wieck, “Prayer for the People: The Book of Hours,” in A History of Prayer: The First to the Fifteenth Century, ed. Roy Hammerling (Boston, Brill, 2008), 402-406. 163
Robbins, “Prayers,” 131-134.
Wieck, “Prayer for the People,” 409-410.
Wieck, “Prayer for the People,” 407-409, 412-414.
the turn of the sixteenth century) utilized the incredibly popular late medieval practice of granting indulgences. While the particular patterns of prayer prescribed by the indulgence varied widely, indulgence prayers and images frequently featured the Lord’s Prayer, alongside the Ave Maria. Devotional images and prayer patterns without indulgences attached to them also regularly utilized the Lord’s Prayer either as a supplement to the unique pattern of the prayer (such as concluding an original prayer with a Pater) or to aid in one’s contemplation of an image or concept (such as gazing upon an illustration of Christ’s wounds while imagining his Passion and simultaneously praying a Pater). Thus, while a layperson might pray “fyve Pater noster fyve Aveys & a Crede” while meditating on an image of Christ surrounded by the instruments of his Passion for the sake of earning “32,755 yeres of pardon” from purgatorial pains,166 he or she might just as well utilize the Pater Noster in a similar devotion as part of a penitential Lenten practice or as part of his or her pattern of daily prayer. 2.3.2 Teaching the Lord’s Prayer The text of the Lord’s Prayer was taught and retaught in virtually every type of Christian ritual practice. The numerous aforementioned examples of the function of the Lord’s Prayer in church ritual and communal prayer, for example, would have served to remind Christians of the text and its ritual power. Moreover, parish priests were obliged to preach on the Lord’s Prayer--its text, meaning, and use—at least twice a year, according to John Mirk’s Instructions for Parish Priests.167 Mirk even goes so far as to
Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 214.
Mirk, Instructions for Parish Priests, 13.
encourage the laity to complain if their own priests do not fulfill this homiletic obligation.168 Aside from twice-yearly vernacular sermons on the prayer, the laity could also receive didactic instruction on the Lord’s Prayer from a catechism or, more likely, from their parish priest’s use of a catechism. These texts were frequently employed by the clergy for lay instruction, whether for use in penitential examination of the laity or for the regular instruction of the children of the parish. The act of instructing children was particularly desirable for the education of the parish due to its dual purpose: it served to educate young children for lifelong knowledge of the prayer and it also allowed for the possibility that any parents ignorant of the text might, through their children, learn the prayers as well, and then be examined on them during the rite of penance.169 Beyond the text of the prayer itself, furthermore, the clergy could use the Pater Noster to instruct their congregations in the basics of the practice of private prayer. As Paul Robinson has noted, preaching on the Lord’s Prayer in the late Middle Ages frequently discussed prayer “in general”—theories of prayer—rather than detailing any particular practices of prayer. Firstly, regarding theories of comprehension, most homilists strongly believed that their flocks needed not just pray the words of the Pater Noster, but also to understand them by knowing them in the vernacular as well. Therefore, most Pater Noster sermons devoted a large portion of their content to a literal
John Mirk, Mirk’s Festial: a collection of homilies, by Johannes Mirkus (London: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1905), 282. 169
John Burgh, Pupilla Oculi (Paris: 1527), pt. 5, ch. 7, sec. A; see also Prier au Moyen Age, ed. Bériou et al., 173.
translation of the text of the dominical prayer from the Latin to the vernacular.170 Two other common themes regarding the Lord’s Prayer and the nature of private Christian prayer are the value of the Lord’s Prayer for private devotion and how to cultivate a proper disposition for effective, reverent prayer. When discussing the value of the Lord’s Prayer, preachers frequently commended the prayer due to its dominical authority, its brevity, and its richness. The Pater Noster was unparalleled among all prayers, John Geiler of Kaiserberg argued, “because its author is he whom the Father established as mediator between himself and us sinners.”171 The prayer of the High Priest, Jesus Christ, then, was superior to all other priestly prayers, papal indulgences, and saintly intercessions, because its text and authority were established by the Savior himself. The Lord’s Prayer was also lauded for its brevity: its succinct petitions offered all Christians, from the spiritual novices to the spiritual masters, an accessible and useful prayer so that, as Dominican Johannes Herolt preached, “no Christian was excused from prayer.”172 According to Geiler, the prayer is purposefully brief: First that it might be learned more quickly. Second that it might be better retained. Third that no one might be excused by his ignorance. Fourth that it might be said more frequently. Fifth that it might remove tedium in speaking. Sixth that the faith being prayed for might be quickly bestowed. Seventh that the worth of the prayer might be shown to be in devotion of the mind, not in a multiplicity of words.173
Robinson, “Teach Us to Pray,” 210.
A final reason that preachers recommended the Pater Noster to the laity for personal prayer was its richness of content. Not only did it contain everything needed for proper reverent supplication to God, the prayer also encompassed all possible human needs, as Herolt preached: “For all necessities of body and soul whether present or future are included in that prayer…”174 It was no wonder, then, that many late medieval discussions of prayer turned to the Lord’s Prayer as their guide. 2.3.3 How To Pray According to late medieval commentators, God preferred that faithful Christians live lives congruent with their prayers. Geiler, along with Gabriel Biel, insisted that it “isn’t enough for Christians to pray for the kingdom of God to come, they must also prepare for it.” As they pray the third petition, for example, the faithful must also strive to follow the commandments, prefer spiritual things to worldly pursuits, and earnestly desire to be with God. 175 As Geiler explains, citing the processions of Rogationtide: It is not enough for the pursuit of a good harvest that the farmers walk with crosses and relics and bells that they might beat against the storms [Rogation]. It is also necessary that they remove the posts; they dig, prune, they insert new posts; they bind vines to the post, etc. Thus for the pursuit of the kingdom it is not enough to pray; one needs to remove the posts: the custom of old evils; one needs also to dig: through the exercise of abstinence, fasts and vigils; one needs to prune all the senses: the eye from the sight of vanities, the ears from the hearing of detractions and ugly gossip, the mouth from lies, etc., the tongue from tasting, etc.; to drive in the new posts of good habits and customs, and to bind them through perseverance.176 174
Geiler’s agricultural example suggests not only his estimation of the utmost importance of an integrated ethical and spiritual life when praying the Lord’s Prayer, but also the issue writ large, of an integration of ethical, spiritual, and liturgical life in regard to turning to God in prayer, personally and communally. Another pastoral and devotional concern for late medieval commentators was the question of vocal prayer versus mental prayer. Although private mental prayer only grew in popularity during the fourteenth century at the earliest, its widespread practice in monastic circles and increasing theological reflection upon its distinction from vocal prayer led most commentators to the conclusion that mental, interior prayer was superior to vocal, external prayer.177 Jean Gerson, for example, held that mental prayer “took place entirely in the soul,” whereas the lower practice of vocal prayer “pertained to the body.”178 But not all pastors held this view; indeed, some, like John Geiler, esteemed the embodied prayer of the laity. Geiler, borrowing from Biel, argued that vocal prayer could in fact serve to foster a supplicant’s “interior devotion,” while outward practice could “instruct…the intellect and…serve…to illuminate the mind and keep it from wandering.”179 But the question can then be raised: what benefit is private vocal prayer to interior disposition without comprehension of the words being spoken? Laity who availed themselves of Books of Hours and primers were assured that the Latinate prayers
Paul Saenger, “Books of Hours and the Reading Habits of the Later Middle Ages,” in Cultures of Print: The Power and the Uses of Print in Early Modern Europe, ed. Roger Chartier, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989), 143-144. 178
Robinson, “Teach Us to Pray,” 219-220.
which they could recite, but not understand, contained “‘good words’, full of ‘vertu’ which ‘availed’ by God’s grace, independently of the reader’s or hearer’s comprehension.”180 Laity who did not utilize prayer books were undoubtedly given similar counsel. Although the “vertu” of the words themselves was appreciated by commentators and devotees of the Lord’s Prayer, it was also commonly cautioned that rote repetition of the prayer—or any prayer—without regard to the words’ meaning or prayer’s intent was to invite ritual failure. As fifteenth-century Franciscan preacher Markus von Weida colorfully warned, “A prayer made to God without devotion angers the Lord even more than a cabbage that is unsalted or unseasoned, which anyone would want to toss out and not want to eat; so it is with a prayer with God in which there is no devotion.”181 Thus the laity were instructed, through the patterns of praying the Lord’s Prayer, to pray aloud reverently, with devotional integrity, so that their words, actions, and intentions met the standards of the prayer, earnestly intending to live in accordance with God’s law and sincerely believing and feeling the emotions and intentions expressed in their petitions. 2.3.4 Interpreting the Lord’s Prayer: Language and Function Two major interpretive shifts regarding the Lord’s Prayer took place over the course of the Middle Ages: the use of ritual language and the ritual function of the prayer in Christian practice. Concerning the issue of lay comprehension and devotion in prayer, late medieval pastors saw an increasing need not only to explain the Pater Noster in the
Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 218.
Robinson, “Teach Us to Pray,” 227.
vernacular for the benefit of those who prayed it, but also to encourage them to pray a vernacular translation of the prayer if they could not manage to memorize the Latin. Numerous vernacular glosses of the Lord’s Prayer survive in the manuscript record from at least the late thirteenth century182 and multiply into the beginning of the sixteenth century. But instructions to recite the prayer—not just understand it—in one’s mother tongue reveal the complicated late medieval approach to ritual and sacred language. As Duffy explains, the circumstances in late fourteenth-century England were particularly tense, as “fear of Lollardy had made most church leaders nervous of translations of scripture, even of such basics as the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the “De Profundis” Psalm recited for the dead.”183 But, at the same time that Lollary loomed in England, John Mirk was not only instructing his congregation to pray an English version of the prayer (as it is more useful and meritorious), he was also instructing his clerical students to likewise encourage the vernacular recitation of the prayer for the sake of encouraging “good intent” while they pray.184 As he explains in his Festial sermon: Wherefor as God haþe geue me grace of vndyrstondyng, I wol at þis tyme shew you, as I fynde wryton. Then shull ye know at þe begynnyng þat hi ys moch more spedfull and meritabull to you to say your “Pater Noster” yn Englysche þen yn suche Lateyn, as ye doþe. For when ye spekyth yn Englysche, þen ye knowen and vndyrstondyn wele what ye sayn; and soo, by your vndyrstondyng, ye haue lykyng and deuocyon forto say hit. 185
A. Langfors, ed., “La patenôtre glosée,” Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 14 (1912):258-259; translated into French by Geneviève Hasenohr in Prier au Moyen Age, 278-280. 183
Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 79.
Mirk, Instructions for Parish Priests, 13.
Mirk, Festial, 282.
Moreover, by the end of the fifteenth century, virtually every new English catechetical treatise (published in the new print medium) explained the prayer text in English alongside the Latin and recommended its vernacular recitation if the devotee could not manage to recite it in Latin:186 Betson’s Ryght Profytable Treatyse (1500) and The Arte or Crafte to Lyve Well (1505) follow this pattern. Moreover, the frequently reprinted Kalendar of Shepherdes, originally printed in 1506, actually omits the Latin version of the prayers.187 Given the concern about heterodoxy, it might be surprising that such material was so popular and frequently published in England at the turn of the sixteenth century; outside of England, the rise of vernacular explanation and recitation of the Lord’s Prayer on the eve of the Reformation was even more pronounced.188 Despite the fact that the Church’s pastoral approach to the Lord’s Prayer and the vernacular underwent a striking evolution in the Middle Ages, there was also an interesting development in the spiritual and ritual function of the Lord’s Prayer. Just as the catechetical function of the Lord’s Prayer evolved from the early Middle Ages through the sixteenth century, so theologians’ theories of the prayer’s role in spiritual practice evolved with it. Ristuccia notes that Patristic commentators stressed the prayer’s “role as a prayer of petition of the individual soul.”189 Caesarius of Arles in particular
See Chapter 5, below, for a further discussion of personal prayer in Latin and in the vernacular.
Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 81-82.
See Prier au Moyen Age, 278-280; Deitrich Kolde, “A Fruitful Mirror,” in Three Reformation Catechisms: Catholic, Anabaptist, Lutheran, ed. and trans. Denis Janz (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1982), 86. 189
Ristuccia, “Transmission of Christendom,” 128-129.
discussed how the Lord’s Prayer taught a believer what to ask for in prayer. Other Latin Fathers debated the meaning of the prayer’s seven supplications: praying for God’s will to be done suggests a petition that one be able to conform to God’s will; asking for daily bread includes the Eucharist, but also a variety of everyday necessities; even “explicitly communal and liturgical” understandings of the petitions were “tempered by interpretations more concerned with private spirituality.”190 By the early Middle Ages, however, Carolingian commentators began to interpret the prayer “in terms of the social morals of the community”; they “viewed the Lord’s Prayer and creed through their contemporary roles as central prayers in the liturgy and as the two texts that all Christians were expected to know.”191 Yet although early medieval preachers discussed the prayer “primarily in terms of sacraments and communal morality,”192 the devotional enthusiasm of the late medieval laity—leading at times to the famous devotional excesses which Luther and other reformers would react against—directed late medieval pastoral interpretations of the Lord’s Prayer towards an integration of the prayer’s communal and private functions. Even though the Lord’s Prayer continued to serve as a marker of membership within the ritual community, it also regained its Patristic emphasis on personal conversion and devotion, in no small part due to the late medieval tradition of self-examination and personal patterns of prayer, in conjunction with devotional integrity. By balancing the communal and sacramental with the personal and devotional when
teaching the Lord’s Prayer, the late medieval approach to Christian formation embodies the practical objective of the late medieval threefold function of the Lord’s Prayer: as a text utilized for liturgical participation, catechetical instruction, and personal prayer, the Lord’s Prayer served as the instrument to train medieval Christians in ritual proficiency.
2.4 Medieval Christian Formation As noted by Ristuccia, Johnson,193 and Burreson, the Patristic pattern of Christian formation—pre-baptismal catechesis, sacramental initiation, and post-baptismal mystagogical instruction—was not the uniform, straightforward process of initiatory religious instruction that it is frequently assumed to be. The common assumptions that most religious instruction took place before initiation and that most of the initiation rituals concluded with baptism are complicated by the fact that practices varied across the Christian East and West and across the early centuries of the Church; while this pattern rose to predominate in late antiquity, the specifics of initiatory rites and instruction were not the same in all place and at all times. Moreover, the handing down and return of the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer—the traditio and redditio—were not simultaneous. The traditio of the Creed or symbolum frequently occurred in the final week of Lent, often Palm Sunday, and the competentes who were slated for baptism at the Easter Vigil would perform the redditio on a subsequent day, typically Holy Saturday. But the traditio and redditio of the Lord’s Prayer occurred separately from the Creed; in fact, the Milanese, Aquileian, and Mozarabic rites handed over the Lord’s Prayer after baptism, with the
See Johnson, Rites of Christian Initiation, 169-189.
redditio following immediately after this.194 Thus the context of learning and reciting the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer while engaging in ritual practice, either as preparation for initiation or as a benefit of initiation, “encouraged catechumens to encounter the Lord’s Prayer and Creed for the first time not only as basic instruction, but as secret texts of ritual power.”195 Moreover, instruction on the mysteries of the sacraments did not even begin until after the competentes experienced the sacraments first-hand; Patristic postbaptismal mystagogy suggests a pedagogical preference for allowing the experiences of the rites themselves to form the neophytes’ understanding of the sacraments. Therefore, “even before the rise of infant baptism…many aspects of basic Christian instruction occurred after baptism and aimed at fully-initiated Christians.”196 The medieval pattern of religious instruction, then, which took place after baptism, would not have been that radical a departure from some strains of Patristic practice.197 Medieval religious instruction, consequently, was essentially mystagogical: pastors were tasked with explaining the sacraments and the patterns of Christian life and worship to those who had already been initiated into the Church. It revolved around training Christians in sacramental competency—how to confess or how to prepare for communion—and liturgical proficiency—what prayers to know, how to participate in the Mass, or how to pray. Medieval catechisms stressed memorization and mastery of the
Ristuccia, “Transmission of Christendom,” 23 n53.
Ibid., 26. Emphasis added.
central catechetical prayers for lay liturgical participation, private prayer, and as basic guidelines of Christian morality. Structured around the Lord’s Prayer, the framework of late medieval basic religious instruction was reiterated throughout participation in parish life—in sermons, drama, art, and the rhythms of the day and seasons. Laypeople were encouraged to memorize the Latin versions of the catechumenal prayers—particularly the Lord’s Prayer—mastery of which enabled lay participation in the eucharistic, baptismal, and penitential rites and ensured an orthodox prayer life. Memorization and recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in its vernacular forms, further, was encouraged to increase lay comprehension of the prayer, to foster devotional and ethical integrity, and to make the prayer easier to learn, recite, and teach to the next generation. The ultimate goal of medieval catechesis was, in Duffy’s words, “to equip the laity with basic prayers, the means of examining their consciences, and the bare essentials of belief,”198 in order to form ritually proficient Christians who were, in turn, effectively formed by ritual participation. The acquisition of the spiritual, ritual, and moral rudiments of the practice of Christianity was not the ultimate goal of catechesis, then, but rather the necessary foundation for formation over a lifetime of ritual participation. Therefore, the Lord’s Prayer, as the central text of the content handed over at baptism, was the textual lynchpin within this ritual structure of post-baptismal Christian formation in worship, as expressed in catechesis, liturgy, and prayer.
Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 62.
CHAPTER 3: RE-RITUALIZING CATECHESIS: THE LORD’S PRAYER IN REFORMATION CATECHISMS
I have argued that a study of the ritual functions of the Lord’s Prayer is the best way to understand the full integrity of the patterns of late medieval Christian formation, built upon the three pillars of catechesis, liturgical participation, and private prayer. My presentation of ritual aspects of lay ritual participation in the life of the church in the later Middle Ages was, like medieval clerical prescriptions on lay catechesis, worship, and prayer, framed around the Lord’s Prayer. Yet the sixteenth century brought unprecedented change in all three aspects of Christian formation, with the Protestant reformers’ revolutionary catechetical programs, their drastic reforms of the liturgy, and their attempts to radically remake the religious imaginations and practices of private prayer in their congregations. How did the Lord’s Prayer fare in this reformation of the ways in which the Christian laity participated in the worship life of the church? The following three chapters will consider the re-ritualization of the Lord’s Prayer in the program of Christian formation as expressed in catechisms, lay liturgical participation, and instruction on private prayer. This chapter will discuss the changing role of the Lord’s Prayer within the catechetical endeavor in three sixteenth-century confessional 92
traditions—the Lutheran churches in the German states, the Church of England, and the Roman Catholic Church—by means of an examination of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, the Catechism of the Book of Common Prayer, and the popular Roman Catholic catechism of the Jesuit Peter Canisius. To preface my presentation of the reritualization of the Lord’s Prayer within catechesis in the sixteenth century, however, I will first lay out a sketch of the ritual revolution that led to these reforms.
3.1 Introduction: Re-ritualizing Catechesis As was laid out in the previous chapter, the overall orientation of late medieval catechesis was toward ritual participation. The Lord’s Prayer, as the most ritually prominent of the traditional catechetical texts of the Lord’s Prayer, Creed, and Decalogue, illustrates this ritual orientation of medieval catechesis in its ritual functions. The Lord’s Prayer was handed over in the baptismal rite as a ritualization of the Patristic practice of pre-baptismal catechesis. In accordance with the canons of the Fourth Lateran Council, mastery of the Lord’s Prayer was examined as a part of the ritual of private confession. Furthermore, catechetical instruction was often framed upon the Lord’s Prayer as a mnemonic device, linking the prayer with both moral practice (in the vices, virtues, and beatitudes) and with the ritual system (such as the sacraments). As previously discussed, the patterns of catechesis emphasized mastery of a ritual text, the Lord’s Prayer, and of proper ritual actions for the sake of effective ritual participation: the rites of baptism, penance, Eucharist, as well as daily prayer and processions. The aim of late medieval catechesis, then, was to inculcate in the largely illiterate laity a rudimentary ritual proficiency, enabling them to participate, at least annually, in the 93
worship and sacraments of the Church, the minimal requirement for membership in the Church. Yet, despite the pastoral canons of councils and synods and the efforts of reform-minded bishops and clergy, the ritually-centered catechetical system of the late Middle Ages was decried as ineffective by sixteenth century critics, both in attaining the goal of universal knowledge of the prayers and in the proper formation of the Christian believer. Universal catechesis, or Christianization—the attempt to ensure that all members of the Church know the basics of the faith—was a goal for both the medieval Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant and Catholic reformers alike in the sixteenth century.199 Continued legislation and sporadic efforts at catechetical reform from the thirteenth century until the sixteenth suggests that such large numbers of laypeople were not able to manage even the minimal requirements set out in their dioceses—particularly the ability to recite the Lord’s Prayer, Creed, and Ten Commandments—that reformminded bishops repeatedly found it concerning.200 From the Protestant perspective, the state of catechesis in the early years of reform was more than just worryingly grim. Church visitation records of Saxony in the 1520s and Gloucester in the 1550s claimed that the laity’s demonstrable knowledge of their catechetical prayers and the training of their pastors were alarmingly poor prior to the introduction of widespread, systematic, 199
For a thorough discussion of the idea that the Reformation was a period of Christianization rather than reform, see Scott Hendrix, Recultivating the Vineyard: The Reformation Agendas of Christianization (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004). 200
As discussed in the second chapter, bishops responded by further reinforcing the role of priest as catechist, particularly through the sacrament of penance, where he was to examine the penitent not only on his or her sins, but also on his or her knowledge of the catechetical texts. Other innovations, such as the installation of Catechism tablets, increased emphasis on catechetical sermons, and the publishing of clerical catechisms, were undertaken in dioceses across Europe as well.
Protestant catechesis. While the majority of laypeople may have been able to recite the Lord’s Prayer in Latin from memory, few could manage the Creed in either Latin or in the vernacular. In his preface to his 1529 Small Catechism, Luther complained: The ordinary person, especially in the villages, knows absolutely nothing about the Christian faith, and unfortunately many pastors are completely unskilled and incompetent teachers. Yet supposedly they all bear the name Christian, are baptized, and receive the holy sacrament, even though they do not know the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, or the Ten Commandments!201 A generation later, Bishop John Hooper of Gloucester, England, by contrast, organized a survey of the education levels of his diocesan clergy, not laity, in 1551. He found that, of three hundred and eleven pastors interviewed, one hundred and sixty-eight could not list the Ten Commandments and ten were not even able to recite the Lord’s Prayer.202 If this was the state of the clergy, the laity would hardly have fared better in such a survey. In the estimation of Luther in Saxony and Hooper in England, this state of catechesis was cause for alarm; for Catholic clergy a generation prior, this would have been an acceptable, if not ideal, assessment of lay religious knowledge. In the first decades of the sixteenth century, the laity’s ability to pray the Lord’s Prayer in Latin was a basic requirement; knowledge of the prayer’s meaning, demonstrated by reciting it in the vernacular, was a commendable goal.203 While language—Latin versus the
Weimar Edition, hereafter WA 30 I: 264-266. English translation from Martin Luther, Small Catechism, in The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, ed. Robert Kolb and Timothy Wengert (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000), 347. 202
Douglas F. Price, “Gloucester Diocese under Bishop Hooper,” Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, LX (1939), 101. 203
The models and goals of late medieval prayer formation are discussed in Chapter Five.
vernacular—undoubtedly played a part in the discrepancies between medieval and sixteenth-century expectations, Luther’s complaint demonstrates the heart of the difference in medieval Catholic and sixteenth-century Protestant catechesis: what one must know to be considered Christian and how that knowledge relates to one’s participation in the rituals of the Church. Thus, at issue in this first generation of catechetical reform in England and in Lutheran German states was not merely the universal religious education of the lay population in the basics of the faith—or Christianization—but also the means and aims of forming Christian believers for ritual participation. This change in the orientation and manner of Christian formation in the sixteenth century is indicative of a larger transformation in ritual theory happening during this period. As Peter Burke has famously noted, “[t]he Reformation was, among other things, a great debate, unparalleled in scale and intensity, about the meaning of ritual, its functions, and its proper forms.”204 The reforms undertaken by Catholic and Protestant reformers of the sixteenth century demonstrate a fundamentally different understanding of ritual and its functions in Christian formation as compared to their Roman Catholic counterparts of the fourteenth and fifteenth century. Inspired by Humanist educational theory,205 the sixteenth-century reformers no longer approached the human person and the
Peter Burke, “The Repudiation of Ritual in Early Modern Europe,” in The Historical Anthropology of Early Modern Italy: Essays on Perception and Communication (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1987), 226. 205
For a detailed discussion of Humanist educational reforms in German universities during Luther’s lifetime, see Steven Ozment, Age of Reform, 1250-1550: An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980), 290-317.
divine-human relationship in the scholastic manner of their medieval predecessors. While one can find precedent for many of the sixteenth century causes for catechetical and devotional reform in the works of late medieval pastors,206 it was not until the sixteenth century that these trends took hold in reformed rites, prayer practices, and, especially, catechisms. This chapter will discuss the role of the Lord’s Prayer in the reformers’ reritualization of catechesis and in the great ritual upheaval of sixteenth century religious instruction. The ritual place of the Lord’s Prayer within official printed catechisms of the sixteenth century serves especially well to illustrate this break between late medieval Catholic and early modern Protestant and Catholic practices in catechesis. The interconnected system of Christian formation of the late Middle Ages, framed upon the Lord’s Prayer and oriented towards ritual participation, experienced a great fragmentation under the reforms of Martin Luther and Thomas Cranmer as well as under the Catholic reformers at Trent. These reformers’ re-ritualization of catechesis by means of their catechisms was expressed in distinct patterns that reveal new theories of ritual efficacy, shedding light on sixteenth-century assumptions about religious knowledge, liturgical participation, and the meaning and ritual function of prayer.
Such as a revival in Christocentric devotion or the preference for comprehension of prayers and subsequent encouragement that they be learned in the vernacular. For a discussion of the diversity of late medieval piety and its early modern confessional expressions, see Berndt Hamm, “Reform, Reformation, Confession: The Development of New Forms of Religious Meaning from the Manifold Tensions of the Middle Ages,’ in Reformation as Christianizaiton: Essays on Scott Hendrix’s Christianization Thesis, ed. Anna M. Johnson and John A. Maxfield (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. 2012), 285-304.
3.2 The Functions of Late Medieval Catechisms As discussed in the previous chapter, the catechetical core texts of the Christian tradition—The Creed, Ten Commandments, and Lord’s Prayer—had diverse functions in the later Middle Ages. Consequently, the “catechism” consistently appeared in a wide variety of late medieval books for lay prayer, devotion, and spiritual edification, according to the intended function of the catechism in that context. Indeed, there was such great variety in this religious literature and its uses that, to the frustration of Protestant critics and modern scholars alike, they defy attempts at classification according to function, genre, or audience. Therefore, strict distinctions of literary genre for these texts are a modern scholarly invention; the overlapping material featured in Books of Hours, primers, and prayer books was not seen as problematic by late medieval authors or consumers. Surviving manuscripts of popular works included educational, devotional, penitential, sacramental, liturgical, biblical, and many more genres of material, as well as the texts of the catechism (Creed, Decalogue, and Lord’s Prayer), cannot be easily categorized, as Gottfried Krodel explains: …[O]ne wonders what the genre of the manuscript as a textual unit is supposed to be, if one is not willing to consider such a manuscript to be simply a storehouse for various, unconnected materials. All these materials shape Christian consciousness; therefore they may be considered catechetical materials, provided one uses that term in the widest possible sense.207 Martin Luther, in contrast, condemned the many prayers, indulgences, spurious legends, and imaginative renderings of the vices and virtues as not only overcrowding and
Gottfried G. Krodel, “Luther’s Work on the Catechism in the Context of Late Medieval Catechetical Literature,” Concordia Journal (Oct 1999), 367.
obscuring the Gospel truths and spiritual aid of the catechetical canon, but actually misleading and deceiving the faithful about the nature of prayer, Christian faith, and what is necessary for salvation.208 Yet the “catechism” was nevertheless ubiquitous in this literature, despite the many functions that such literature had for late medieval audiences. Consequently, the function of the catechism in each different book varied, particularly when parts of the catechetical canon were split between sections of the book. It has been argued by historian of the Roman Catechism Robert Bradley, however, that most late medieval catechisms were in fact intended for clerical use, meant as a guide for pastoral care, for religious instruction of the laity, or for use in sermons.209 By the close of the fifteenth century and the dawn of the sixteenth, however, there was an increasing demand among lay readers for catechetical literature intended for lay usage. In order to discuss the changing ritual role of the Lord’s Prayer in reformed catechisms, I will first consider two late medieval vernacular catechetical works intended for lay readership that were popular in the decades prior to the first reforms of the genre undertaken in the 1520s: Deitrich Kolde’s German A Fruitful Mirror or Small Handbook for Christians, which was first published in 1470 but which was reprinted in nineteen editions by 1500,210 and the anonymous Kalender of Shepherds, a work first published in French in 1493 and English in 1506. Kolde’s A Fruitful Mirror was a vernacular
WA 10 II:375-376.
Robert I. Bradley, The Roman Catechism in the Catechetical Tradition of the Church: The Structure of the Roman Catechism as Illustrative of the "Classic Catechesis" (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1990), 86. 210
Denis Janz, Three Reformation Catechisms: Catholic, Anabaptist, Lutheran (New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1982), 7-8.
penitential-type catechetical work, which endeavored to supply the reader with all of the religious knowledge and pious practices relating to what the Christian must believe, how the Christian should live, how the Christian should pray, and how the Christian should die, in order to go to heaven.211 Kolde treats the Creed in the first section on belief (chapters 1-5), then turns to the Ten Commandments as laws to be fulfilled (chapters 624), then introduces a section on prayer with the Lord’s Prayer as one penitential prayer among many (chapters 26-43), and, finally, discusses the necessary preparations for death in his fourth section on how to die (chapters 44-46). Although Lutheran scholars who treat Kolde in light of Luther’s Small Catechism approach A Fruitful Mirror as a primarily a confessional manual, they seem to miss, or even dismiss, the matrix of prayer that appears throughout this catechetical work.212 Each of Kolde’s presentations of the catechetical texts is interwoven with prayer, both as an aid to memorization and as a guide to meditate upon the texts. On the Creed, for example, Kolde quotes Augustine’s instruction that “the creed is a foundation of all virtue and an origin of human blessedness”; it is therefore important to say the Creed often and meditate upon it, as well as to believe its articles.213 Kolde follows this with the text of the Apostles’ Creed and an
Dietrich Kolde, Ein Fruchtbar Spiegel oder handbüchen der Christenmenschen in Christoph Moufang, ed. and trans., Katholische Katechisnmen des sechzehnten Jahrhunderts in deutscher Sprache (Mainz: F. Kirchheim, 1881), ii; English translation provided in Denis Janz, Three Reformation Catechisms: Catholic Anabaptist, Lutheran, (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1982), 32. 212
For example, see Timothy Wengert, Martin Luther’s Catechisms: Forming the Faith (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2009); Gordon A. Jensen, “Shaping Piety Through Catechetical Structures: The Importance of Order,” Reformation and Renaissance Review 10:2 (2008): 223-246; Gottfried G. Krodel, “Luther’s Work on the Catechism in the Context of Late Medieval Catechetical Literature,” Concordia Journal (Oct 1999): 364-404; and Charles P. Arand, That I May Be His Own: An Overview of Luther’s Catechisms (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2000). 213
Kolde, Spiegel, iii; Janz, Catechisms, 33.
extended commentary on its articles, which he calls “A Lesson Concerning Other Points Which One Must Believe If One Is to Be Saved.”214 Kolde then presents the reader with a prayerful aid to gaining the faith to believe all that is required of Christians. This prayer confesses one’s desire to live (and die) according to the Christian faith, asks God to “strengthen and secure” one’s faith, and expresses contrition for any past disbelief.215 Following that, Kolde prefaces his account of the Ten Commandments with an “Instruction on How One Should Live According to the Will and the Commandments of God,” a “Short Description of the Curses that God has Given and will yet Give to All Those Who Do Not Keep His Commandments,” a “Short Description of the Great Promises and Blessings that Those Who Keep These Commandments Are to Receive,” and a “Prayer to Ask God for the Grace to Keep These Commandments.”216 Although its clear purpose is to guide readers through the process of penance and instruct them on the catechism, as others have noted, Kolde’s A Fruitful Mirror accomplishes this while additionally functioning as a prayer manual or meditative guide to penance and the catechetical canon. The ritual role of the Lord’s Prayer in this work is to, on the one hand, serve as the final step in the penitential process in relation to the Creed and Decalogue and, on the other hand, to function in a preparatory manner in relation to the concluding section of the book: on how to die well. Kolde presents the Lord’s Prayer specifically, as the catechetical text that introduces the section on prayers and patterns of
Kolde, Spiegel, iii-iv; Janz, Catechisms, 34-37.
Kolde, Speigel, iv; Janz, Catechisms, 38.
Kolde, Spiegel, v-ix; Janz, Catechisms, 39-47.
prayer, and all prayer in general, as both a penitential response to sin and a petitionary, even apotropaic, exercise for defense against evil and for protection at the hour of death. The other prayers that Kolde presents continue this twofold penitential and petitionary theme; the ritual at bedtime described in chapter 33, for example, first has the devotee recounting his or her sins, remembering the sacrifice of Christ and the sorrows of his mother, asking for forgiveness, and, finally, resting “sweetly” with Saint John the Evangelist “at the breast of Jesus.”217 In contrast to Kolde’s A Fruitful Mirror, The Kalender of Shepherdes, published in French in 1493 and English in 1503,218 utilized print and woodblocks to create a popular compendium of secular and sacred knowledge, not unlike a late medieval almanac. Like a medieval prayer book or Book of Hours, it begins with a calendar and list of feasts, both fixed and movable. It then moves on to tables illustrating solar and lunar cycles, before it turns to explicitly religious knowledge: the vices and the virtues, explained in detail, followed by descriptions of the seven petitions of the Pater Noster, a discussion of the Ave Maria and its scriptural origins, the Creed with an explanation, and the Ten Commandments of the Bible and five commandments of the Church. All of this material appears solely in the vernacular. The Kalender then moves on to diagramming the human body, the stars, and other facets of general knowledge from the turn of the
Kolde, Spiegel, xxxix; Janz, Catechisms, 105.
The Kalender of Shepherdes, vol. 1, H. Oskar Sommer, ed., (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, & Co., 1892), 11, 27.
sixteenth century.219 Returning to the Pater Noster: the Kalender breaks down the seven petitions and gives an explanation of each, then describes the scenes in Luke and Matthew of Jesus teaching the prayer to his disciples, accompanied by a woodcut of Christ lecturing on the topic complete with the prayer in the text bubble.220 Interestingly, when these catechetical texts appear in the vernacular in sermons and prayer books, they are almost always paired with the Latin texts of the prayer; the implication being that the vernacular is used to aid in comprehension, but that recitation in Latin was preferred. The Latin versions of these prayers and texts, however, are not present in the Kalender. The Ave Maria follows, again with an explanation, the scriptural and theological context, and an illustration of scenes of Mary being greeted—by the Angel and Elizabeth in the Gospel of Luke and by the whole of the Church.221 Then the Creed is explained, presented as having been composed in twelve parts by each of the twelve apostles.222 The Ten Commandments follow in like manner, with Moses depicted before the Israelites on Sinai, with a cursory explanation of each commandment.223 There is a clear incongruity between Kolde’s use of the Lord’s Prayer and the presentation of it in the Kalender. Dietrich Kolde’s Fruitful Mirror presents the Lord’s Prayer alongside the other catechetical texts (the Creed and Decalogue) within a
See The Kalender of Shepherdes, vol. 2, H. Oskar Sommer, ed., (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, & Co., 1892), ai. 220
The Kalender of Shepherdes, vol. 2., eviii r- eviii v, 75-76.
The Kalender of Shepherdes, vol. 2., fi r- fi v, 76.
The Kalender of Shepherdes, vol. 2., fi v- fiii r, 77-78.
The Kalender of Shepherdes, vol. 2., fiii r- fiii v, 78-79.
penitential-devotional system of prayer and ritual participation. The Kalender, however, communicates this necessary religious knowledge without any instruction as to its use or any reference as to its importance, let alone its function in the church’s ritual system or a Christians’ personal spiritual practices. In the vast majority of late medieval catechetical texts, the Lord’s Prayer was usually grouped with devotional prayers such as the Ave Maria and Salve Regina. This is especially true in vernacular books with an emphasis on devotional use (for private prayer) or liturgical use (in preparation for sacramental reception and/or to follow along with the liturgy). These books frequently organized the texts of the catechism according to a formula of faith, works, and prayer, where the Creed and Ten Commandments tend to function as representative of “faith” and “works” or doctrine and ethic. This category consisting of devotional prayers was representative of “prayer” as a compliment to “faith” and “works,” and was variously presented as functioning as a habit that formed pious and penitential believers (such as in Kolde’s Fruitful Mirror).224 Alternatively, it was used within a sequence of prayers that, prayed as a whole (such as the Rosary) or individually, could either atone for sin (function as satisfaction for penance) or earn spiritual merit (function to gain indulgences for self or others, in this life or in Purgatory). The Kalender of Shepherdes, however, lumps the catechetical core texts of Creed, Decalogue, Lord’s Prayer, and Ave Maria together with the vices and virtues in a section of necessary religious knowledge, alongside the other sections of necessary astronomical, anatomical, and agricultural knowledge. The Lord’s Prayer, along with the rest of the religious material, is simply one piece of information in
Jensen, “Shaping Piety,” 230.
a compendium of helpful reference material. What the reader of the Kalender should do with this information is not a concern expressed by the author of the Kalender. These two late medieval presentations of the texts of the catechisms, then, are indicative of two approaches to the presentation of religious material in the decades before the first reforms in the 1520s. They represent both innovation in catechetical practice and continuation of late medieval precedent. First, both of these books were meant for lay use—not for clerical use for the instruction of the laity. While longer catechisms meant for Christians with advanced theological expertise—such as those in ministry—continued to be published for use in Protestant and Catholic contexts, most catechetical works from the 1520s on were intended for a lay audience. The shortest Reformation catechisms, however, while meant for lay mastery, were usually acquired through recitation and memorization rather than read and referenced like longer catechisms. Yet their adherence to a textual norm (such as Luther’s Small Catechism or the Catechism of the Book of Common Prayer) gives the catechism a functional status as text, even if those who learned them did not usually read them. Secondly, these two catechetical works are representative of the two approaches to the ritual function of the Lord’s Prayer. The first, Kolde’s Fruitful Mirror, is in line with the medieval performative status of the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer functioned in Kolde’s catechism as representative of all prayer, which had a range of uses within the ritual system, and was placed, along with the Creed and Decalogue, within the book’s larger penitential-devotional system of prayer. The Kalender, on the other hand, treats the Lord’s Prayer and the Ave Maria as two religious texts, such as the Creed and the Ten Commandments, that a layperson may want to know. Not only is their ritual use 105
not explained, as in Kolde, but they are not connected to any larger assumed pattern of prayer or place in the larger religious system.
3.3 Catechisms in the Re-ritualization of Christian Formation I used Kolde’s Fruitful Mirror and the Kalender of Shepherdes as two examples of the place of the traditional catechetical core texts within popular lay books at the close of the fifteenth century and the dawn of the sixteenth. This was intended to demonstrate how clerical dissemination of catechetical knowledge in this growing medium of printed books had, prior to the advent of evangelical catechisms by Protestant authors, already begun a phenomenon of re-ritualizing the place of the Lord’s Prayer within catechesis and renegotiating the relationship between catechesis and ritual in forming Christian believers. I will now turn to three sixteenth century catechisms, fruits of each confessional tradition’s catechetical reforms, to discuss their translation of the catechetical core of the Creed, Decalogue, and Lord’s Prayer into set confessional catechetical texts and the resulting ritual function of the Lord’s Prayer within these catechisms. 3.3.1 Martin Luther’s Small Catechism While Martin Luther did not publish the first evangelical catechism,225 his Small Catechism of 1529 became the standard model for other reformers’ catechisms, and came to stand as a central text in the formation of Lutheran identity, appearing in the collection
This was accomplished by Luther’s colleague Johan Agricola in 1527. Luther found his catechism so unwieldy that he decided to publish his own in 1529.
of Lutheran confessional statements, The Book of Concord. The foundation of Luther’s Small Catechism and the source from which it draws its general outline, can be traced to his 1520 evangelical confessional manual—A Short Form of the Ten Commandments, A Short Form of the Faith, A Short Form of the Our Father226—and his 1522 Personal Prayer Book or Betbüchlein,227 which can be considered a direct Protestant analogue to late medieval personal prayer books. In his 1520 confessional manual, Luther first rearranged the catechetical core of the Decalogue, Creed, and Lord’s Prayer according to a distinct new penitential formula. Where late medieval penitents were tested on their knowledge of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer, then questioned about their sins according to the Ten Commandments (and, frequently, assigned to pray the Lord’s Prayer as a penance), this confessional manual laid out a new evangelical pattern of the catechetical canon according to Luther’s penitential process. Luther here for the first time explained this pattern, where each text represents a central aspect of the Christian tradition and the process of conversion and salvation—the Decalogue on sin, the Creed on belief, and the Lord’s Prayer on prayer and worship—and, in line with Augustinian tradition, Luther likens it to the process of healing from illness.228 In 1522 Luther followed his manual for confession with his evangelical version of the wildly popular late medieval personal prayer books: his Personal Prayer Book or
WA 10 II:375-406.
For a discussion of this pattern and its relation to late medieval penitential works, see Gottfried G. Krodel, “Luther’s Work on the Catechism in the Context of Late Medieval Catechetical Literature,” Concordia Journal (Oct 1999): 364-404.
Betbüchlein. While Luther again made use of the traditional catechetical canon of the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer229 as could be found in late medieval prayer books, he nevertheless rejected those other books as “by no means the least objectionable…[a]mong the many harmful books and doctrines which are misleading and deceiving Christians.”230 According to Luther, the Decalogue, Creed, and Lord’s Prayer formed the heart of Christian devotion, functioned for the laity as “the total content of Scripture and preaching and everything a Christian needs to know,”231 and served as a guide to Christian living, belief, and prayer. Again utilizing the analogy of sickness and medicine, Luther explained: Three things a person must know in order to be saved. First, he must know what to do and what to leave undone. Second, when he realizes that he cannot measure up to what he should do or leave undone, he needs to know where to go to find the strength he requires. Third, he must know how to seek and obtain that strength. It is just like a sick person who first has to determine the nature of his sickness, then find out what to do or to leave undone. After that he has to know where to get the medicine which will help him do or leave undone what is right for a healthy person. Third, he has to desire to search for this medicine and to obtain it or have it brought to him. Thus the commandments teach a man to recognize his sickness, enabling him to perceive what he must do or refrain from doing, consent to or refuse, and so he will recognize himself to be a sinful and wicked person. The Creed will teach and show him where to find the medicine—grace—which will help him to become devout and keep the commandments. The Creed points him to God and his
Luther also included the Angelic Salutation in his Betbüchlein, reimagining the verses from Luke in an evangelical light rather than its traditional use as a devotional prayer to the Blessed Virgin. 230
WA 10 II:375; translation from LW 43:11.
WA 10 II:376; LW 43:13.
mercy, given and made plain to him in Christ. Finally, the Lord’s Prayer teaches all this, namely, through the fulfillment of God’s commandments everything will be given him. In these three are the essentials of the entire Bible.232 With his Personal Prayer Book, Luther re-envisioned the devotional patterns of late medieval prayer books just as he recast the penitential patterns of the late medieval confessional manual in his 1520 Short Form. The traditional devotional-penitential formula of contrition/confession/penance was translated by Luther into an evangelical analogue of recognition of sinfulness/confession of faith in God/petition to God for aid and thanksgiving for God’s plan of salvation, using only the texts of the catechetical canon and his explanations of them to guide his readers. In Luther’s formulation of the process of penitential conversion, then, where the Decalogue serves to remind the penitent of his or her sinfulness and the Creed informs him or her of where merciful forgiveness and divine aid is to be sought, the Lord’s Prayer functions neither as penance nor as petition, but as a meditation upon God’s promises. Although his Personal Prayer Book was popular—going through twenty-three editions in just eight years—it was not the catechism that Luther envisioned for the evangelical church in Germany, as he noted the need for a succinct evangelical catechism in his Deutsche Messe of 1526.233 It was not until his 1529 Small Catechism that Luther returned to the catechetical core to create a simple, easy-to-memorize and easy-to-distribute catechism for use in the German evangelical churches. While all three focused on the Ten Commandments, Creed, and Lord’s Prayer, unlike his confessional manual and Personal Prayer Book, 232
WA 10 II:376-377; LW 43:13-14.
which provided a clear devotional program to aid in the believer’s ongoing conversion, the Small Catechism’s sole purpose was catechetical: a working knowledge of the three catechetical texts, as well as the sacraments and their theological meaning. Deeper discussion of these catechetical materials, fitting for more mature believers or for deeper theological inquiry, was taken up in Luther’s 1529 Large Catechism. In the scheme of his catechisms and of the larger catechetical programs of the German evangelical churches, Luther had a specific aim with his approach to the Lord’s Prayer. He understood the Lord’s Prayer to be one of three central pillars to Christian catechesis through the centuries, as well as the key to Christian prayer and spirituality. Yet he also felt that the accretion of popular devotions, prayers, and popular instructive material such as the vices and the virtues in medieval catechetical texts had effectively obscured the central role of the Lord’s Prayer in the lives of the laity.234 According to Luther, the restoration of the Lord’s Prayer to its central place in lay catechesis and prayer was one of the most pressing goals for reforming the church. While I will return to his emphasis on the Lord’s Prayer in shaping the prayer lives of the laity in Chapter Five, I must note here the centrality of devotional prayer in Luther’s catechetical reforms, as well as the central role which the Lord’s Prayer played in the reform of devotional prayer and, consequently, in catechesis. From his Betbüchlein to his A Simple Way to Pray, Luther consistently emphasized the central place of the catechism in prayer and the centrality of prayer in his catechism. Luther scholar William R. Russell has argued that,
Moreover, Luther took issue with the medieval catechetical schema of vices and virtues, with their reliance upon Aristotelian habituation, as an overestimation of human effort and an underestimation of human depravity. See Gerald Strauss, Luther’s House of Learning: Indoctrination of the Young in the German Reformation (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978), 63.
for Luther more than any other Reformer, “the content of catechesis is also the content of Christian prayer. Ultimately, then, the primary goal of catechesis [according to Luther] is to instruct Christians in the basics of prayer.”235 Russell’s claims underscore the emphasis that Luther himself placed on prayer and devotional practice as the foundation of his vision of a reformed evangelical Christian life and the role of catechesis in his work to realize that vision. As I will argue at the end of this chapter, however, the function of the Lord’s Prayer in the catechetical use of the Small Catechism, however— as recited text—served to remove the prayer from its ritual context and placed it instead in an intellectual context. Within the text of the Small Catechism, the Lord’s Prayer was a text to be memorized and interpreted, rather than a prayer to be performed. 3.3.2 The Catechism of the Church of England The Catechism of the Book of Common Prayer was first printed in the 1549 version of the Book of Common Prayer published under the young King Edward, appearing in the Book’s rubrics for Confirmation. Called the “Catechism for Children,” it is a question-and-answer form catechism: beginning with a renewal of baptismal vows, followed by the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments, the Two Great Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer. A short discussion of the sacraments in general and baptism and the Lord’s Supper in particular was added in 1604.236 Perhaps more than
William R. Russel, “Luther, Prayer, and the Reformation,” Word & World 22:1 (Winter 2002),
This was done to reflect the Reformed position of only the two sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist. James F. Turrell, “Catechisms,” The Oxford Guide to The Book of Common Prayer: A Worldwide Survey, Charles Hefling and Cynthia Shattuck, eds. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 501.
any other catechism, including the early modern Roman Catholic catechisms, the catechism of the Book of Common Prayer was fundamentally tied to the celebration of the sacraments. Unlike all other catechisms, Protestant or Catholic, this catechism appeared in the official liturgical book of the church; it essentially functioned as a liturgical text, bridging the liturgies of two sacraments.237 In the Baptismal Rite of the Book of Common Prayer, godparents were exhorted to instruct their godchild in the Catechism (memorizing the Creed, Ten Commandments, and Lord’s Prayer) and to present them to the bishop at the appropriate age for confirmation, just as late medieval Catholic godparents had been commanded in the Sarum Rite.238 The text of the catechism then followed, complete with an instruction that it was to be memorized so that the child could participate in the Confirmation Rite, the text of which followed the Catechism. The catechism also functioned liturgically in its use of the first-person singular, which echoed the interrogations of the English baptismal rite,239 and in its dialogue, which began by recalling the baptismal interrogations, promises, and declarations: Question. What is your name? Aunswere. N or M. Question. Who gave you this name? Aunswere. My Godfathers and Godmothers in my Baptisme,
Except for the fact that Confirmation was definitively excluded as a sacrament in the 1604 catechism of the Book of Common Prayer. 238
Where parents and pastors are charged with this responsibility in the rites and regulations of Lutheran Germany the Church of England retained, at least in its liturgical rites, the medieval emphasis on the role of the godparent. This retention of the godparents’ responsibilities was also continued in Martin Bucer’s rites in Strasburg. Bucer, of course, had a strong influence on the rites of Christian Initiation in the Church of England. See Johnson, The Rites of Christian Initiation, 340-347. For the Sarum Rite’s charging of the godparents with catechetical repsonsibilities, see A. Jeffereies Collins, ed., Manuale ad usum Percelebris Ecclesie Sarisburiensis (Chichester, UK: Henry Bradshaw Society Publications, 1960), 31-32. 239
These liturgical elements are also noted in Ian Green, The Christian’s ABC, 20.
wherein I was made a member of Christe, the childe of God, and inheritour of the kingdome of heaven. Question. What did your Godfathers and Godmothers then for you? Aunswere. They did promise and vowe three thinges in my name. First, that I should forsake the deuil and all his workes and pompes, the vanities of the wicked worlde, and all the sinnefull lustes of the fleshe. Secondly, that I should beleve all the articles of the Christian fayth. And thirdly, that I should kepe Goddes holy will and commaundementes and walke in the same al the daies of my life. Question. Dooest thou not thinke that thou arte bound to beleue, and to doe as they have promised for thee? Aunswere. Yes verely. And by Gods helpe so I wil. And I hartily thanke our heauenly father, that he hath called me to thys state of saluacion, through Jesus Christe our Saueour. And I pray God to geue me hys grace, that I may continue in the same unto my liues ende. Question. Rehearse the articles of thy beliefe.240 Recitation, interrogation, and explanation of the Creed, Decalogue, and Lord’s Prayer then follow. According to this catechism, the Lord’s Prayer, like all prayer, functions as the means by which the faithful should call upon God, asking for his grace in order to follow the commandments. As the catechism explained, the Lord’s Prayer voices the believer’s desire for God to “send his grace unto me, and to all people, that we may wurship him, serue hym, and obey him, as we ought to doe. And I praye unto God, that he will sende us al thynges that be nedeful both for our soules and bodies: And that he wil bee mercifull unto us, and forgeue us our sinnes.”241 In the same vein as Luther, the Lord’s Prayer is not merely a petition for the fulfillment of spiritual and bodily needs, but for the grace of God which grants the ability to worship, serve, and obey God rightly.
“A Catechisme,” 1549 Book of Common Prayer in The First and Second Prayer Books of Edward VI (London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1957), 247-248. 241
Interestingly, the Lord’s Prayer within the English catechism is a prayer set within a liturgically contextualized catechism; it’s a prayer within a liturgical text, within the Book of Common Prayer. Yet the Lord’s Prayer in this catechism does not seem to function as a prayer. Rather, it is treated as a pattern or guide to prayer, rather than a conversation with God or a statement of one’s relationship to God and the community. Unlike other parts of the Book of Common Prayer, the catechisms of the 1552 Book of Common Prayer and 1559 Elizabethan Book of Common Prayer saw no revision of the 1549 catechism. Catechizing in England was undertaken with the understanding that those who had attained basic proficiency in the catechism would then build upon their foundational knowledge with what they heard and experienced in worship and prayer. As one independent 1588 catechism explained, participation in the liturgy, sacraments, and practices of prayer would be more beneficial to the unlearned if they were taught the rudiments of faith, but, “to their far greater profit,” they would also then understand the word of scripture and in sermons and use it in their daily lives.242 While the Church of England did develop programs of catechesis similar to those in Germany, Gordon Jeanes has suggested that the primary means by which Cranmer and church officials intended to instill the basic knowledge of the faith as described in the catechism was through sacramental preparation and liturgical participation.243 Yet, where England seems to have
T. Sparke and J. Seddon, A catechisme, or short kind of instruction (Oxford, 1588), 32. Cited in Green, Christian’s ABC, 31. 243
Gordon Jeanes, “Cranmer and Common Prayer,” The Oxford Guide to The Book of Common Prayer: A Worldwide Survey, Charles Hefling and Cynthia Shattuck, eds. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 29.
been slow to adopt the sorts of catechetical regulations and educational programs that marked the early years of catechetical reform on the Continent (due to the monarchical upheavals of the church), Lutheran churches, which had initially rejected an over-reliance on sacramentally-tied catechesis, eventually integrated the approach into their catechetical programs. 3.3.3 The Roman Catholic Catechism of Peter Canisius While it would seem that early modern Roman Catholic catechisms would trace their lineage directly from late medieval catechetical works, these Tridentine lay catechisms owe much to the Protestant catechisms that reinvented the genre. Although there are many lines of continuity in both format and function between late medieval catechetical literature and Protestant catechisms, Roman Catholic catechisms from the time of Trent and following are as much indebted to humanistic educational influence as their Protestant counterparts. Furthermore, they also owe some inspiration to Protestant catechisms in their content, as a reaction to Protestant claims, and in their format, taking up patterns that had proven effective in the Protestant context. Most early modern Catholic catechisms utilized the question-and-answer format popularized by Luther’s Small Catechism, which inculcated in children the catechetical texts (the Creed, the Decalogue, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Sacraments), and their corresponding short orthodox Catholic explanations. Not only were Catholic catechists inspired by the catechetical format of Protestant catechisms, but they also emulated the Protestant Reformers’ systematic programs of catechetical instruction. The spread of Roman Catholic catechisms and the establishment of primary schools for instruction (begun
before Trent in some Italian cities but blossoming throughout Europe after the Council)244 allowed Catholic bishops and reform-minded curates across the European Continent to create the Catholic equivalent of the systematic and comprehensive catechetical program already in place in such Protestant cities as Strasbourg and Geneva and Lutheran German states such as Saxony. Not setting aside the impact of sixteenth-century Catholic catechisms and the reform of the liturgy, a decades-long reformation of lay religious education marked perhaps the greatest Tridentine reform of the ritual aspects of lay formation. This overhaul was undertaken in part by the pastoral work of a new class of educated cleric formed by the Catechism of the Council of Trent245 and the eventual creation of seminaries across Europe and in part by the missionary and educational efforts of the intra-European missionary and teaching orders, such as the Jesuits, Redemptorists, Capuchins, and Ursulines.246 Moreover, Catholic catechetical reformers, like their Protestant counterparts, were convinced by early modern Humanist theories of education to turn their catechetical energies toward the formation of the young.247 Sixteenth-century Roman Catholic catechisms, like their late medieval counterparts, were written by a multitude of authors. Unlike the multivalent genres of late
Kathleen Comerford, “Clerical Education, Catechesis, and Catholic Confessionalization: Teaching Religion in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,” in Early Modern Catholicism: Essays in Honor of John W. O’Malley, S.J., ed. Kathleen Comerford and Hilmar M. Pabel (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001), 241. 245
Mary Charles Bryce, O.S.B., “Evolution of Catechesis from the Catholic Reformation to the Present,” A Faithful Church: Issues in the History of Catechesis, John H. Westerhoff III and O.C. Edwards, Jr., eds. (Wilton, CT: Morehouse-Barlow, 1981), 207. 246
Bryce, “Evolution of Catechesis,” 212-215.
Comerford, “Clerical Education, 241-242.
medieval catechisms, however, the Catholic catechisms of the Reformation had an explicit purpose and a unity of vision: to instruct the young and ignorant in the truths of the faith, to combat the spread of Protestant theology, and to form the faithful for participation in the life in the Church. I will now consider the extremely popular catechisms of Jesuit missionary to Bavaria, Peter Canisius, whose three catechisms—the comprehensive Summa Doctrinae Christiane of 1555, the simple children’s Catechismus minimus of 1556, and the intermediate Parvus catechismus catholicorum of 1558—were reprinted for centuries and translated for use across Western Europe and into North America. Each of these catechisms is arranged in two large sections, on Wisdom and on Justice, with explanations of the sacraments acting as a bridge between the two.248 The section on Wisdom includes the four traditional catechetical subjects treated in Catholic and Protestant catechisms alike: the Creed, Prayer (in general), the Ten Commandments, and the Sacraments. Canisius, in the tradition of Augustine, equates the Creed with Faith, the Lord’s Prayer with Hope, and the commandments (understood by Canisius to be the Decalogue and ecclesiastical authority) as Charity. His section on Justice, in contrast, discusses sin and virtue, or, in Protestant parlance, works. In Canisius’ outline of the catechetical canon, the Lord’s Prayer functions as a means of forming the Christian according to the virtue of Hope: to pray and work for God’s Kingdom, to conform the soul to God’s will, to rely upon God for all spiritual and earthly need, and to turn to God for deliverance from evil and temptations.
Interestingly, this is the same pattern that sacramental theologian Louis-Marie Chauvet takes up in his Symbol and Sacrament. Louis-Marie Chauvet, Symbol and Sacrament: A Sacramental Reinterpretation of Christian Existence (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1995).
What is hope? It is the divinely infused virtue, through which we expect with a certain trust our salvation and the goods of eternal life. From where do we learn the correct manner of hope and supplication? From the Lord’s Prayer, which Christ Himself our Lord and Teacher, handed down and prescribed with his own sacred mouth.249 In Canisius’ catechism the Lord’s Prayer functioned as a piece of catechetical knowledge and also as representative of devotional acts and prayer in general as the expression of the Christian virtue of hope. Hope was presented as a virtue “infused” with the divine, a trusting expectation of salvation and the blessings of eternal life.250 This hope was not granted to Christians in the sacraments, but was to be “learned” from the example of the prayer that Jesus himself taught his disciples.251 The Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary were then presented as ritual prayers that both conveyed the message of hope through didactic instruction and trained the student through repeated recitation to think of God’s promises of salvation and to grow in relationship with the addressee of the prayers, either God the Father or the Blessed Virgin. Although the Lord’s Prayer was presented within Wisdom as necessary knowledge and an exercise in developing hope, prayers and devout meditations make up a large percentage of the latter part of Canisius’ catechism framed around Justice. They are presented as aids to just living, a means to examine one’s
Peter Canisius, S.J., Petri Canisii Societatis Jesu theologi parvus catechismus Catholicorum Latine (London: Henry Hills, 1687), 3. 250
conscience, confess one’s faults, and ask for the grace and fortitude to avoid sin and cultivate virtue. Early Modern Catholic catechetical instruction and catechetical content also seemed to focus equally on behavior and external manifestations of faith as on the acquisition of right theological knowledge. As Karen E. Carter explains in her comprehensive study of early modern French catechetical practices, Both clergy and parents realized that catechism classes should teach children proper Catholic behavior rather than complicated theology or doctrines. The clergymen and theologians who wrote these catechisms meant them to be comprehensive, step-by-step instructions for children to follow in their daily lives regarding what to believe and what to do in order to live as true Catholics. … Even if they did not fully understand the complexity of Catholic doctrine, these children could still perform Catholic rites and behave like Catholics in their everyday lives...252 Thus the texts of some Catholic catechisms certainly emphasized inculcating orthopraxy more than their Protestant counterparts. As others have discussed, the actual practice of teaching the catechisms in schools, both Catholic and Protestant, stressed the formation of the young according to behavioral and moral norms. In the Lutheran context, educators hoped to impress the Word of God upon the hearts of the youth early so as to guide them in conforming to the rules and regulations of society.253 The English authorities utilized the conforming influence of common prayer, moral and instructional
Karen E. Carter, Creating Catholics: Catechism and Primary Education in Early Modern France (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2011), 26. 253
Strauss, Luther’s House, 152-153.
standards in schools, 254 and the power of ecclesiastical courts to attempt to form the behaviors of English youth. For Catholic catechists, however, behavioral and moral norms were still largely bound up with norms of religious practice and were shaped and checked through ritual means, such as the rite of confession. Canisius’ extensive section on Justice and its frequent references to penance follows this pattern. Though the trend with early modern catechisms, Catholic and Protestant, has been toward presenting the Lord’s Prayer and the other parts of the traditional catechetical core—the Creed and Ten Commandments—as pieces of knowledge to acquire and as divorced from their place within the ritual systems of the churches, this de-ritualized presentation of the Lord’s Prayer was not the intent of these reformers. Rather, the simple fact of systematically imparting the core matters of religious knowledge by means of print media lends itself to a de-contextualized presentation. This religious knowledge, meant to be practiced and performed, having distinct uses within the community and its rituals, had to be condensed to mere text to be printed and had to be reduced to the functional status of text, even in the oral context of repetition and memorization. I will now turn to the insights of ritual studies to explain this larger development within the Lutheran, English, and Catholic Churches of the sixteenth century.
Although the English did not set up a system of schools as was seen in the German states, they did hold their schools to strict standards which were investigated regularly by the bishop. See Green, ABC, 171.
3.4 Sixteenth-Century Catechisms and the Re-Ritualization of the Lord’s Prayer I have described the place of the Lord’s Prayer in the official catechisms of the Lutheran, English, and Roman Catholic churches of the sixteenth century, but I have not yet addressed the ritual effects of these presentations of the Lord’s Prayer within these catechisms. Ritual scholar Catherine Bell has laid out two ritual typologies that I believe are helpful as ways to frame the consequences for the ritual place of the Lord’s Prayer within catechesis. In the systemic changes to religious practice in sixteenth-century Western Christianity, two phenomena were reshaping the ritual landscape: the increasingly orthodoxic emphasis of what was once a predominantly orthopraxic religious system, and the turn from an oral society to a literate society. Catherine Bell has used the terms orthodoxic and orthopraxic to describe religious ritual systems that emphasize proper doctrinal knowledge, on the one hand, and those that emphasize proper ritual performance, on the other.255 As the reformers of the sixteenth century renegotiated their approaches to ritual and its place in their religious systems, scholars of ritual observe in their reforms an increasing emphasis upon orthodoxic elements across the board—Catholic and Protestant alike—while the orthopraxic elements are reworked to align with the orthodoxic. It is not that the sixteenth century saw Christianity shift from wholly orthopraxic to entirely orthodoxic. Rather, right belief became increasingly emphasized in the formation of Christians and expected for their participation in religious ritual. Religious authorities demonstrated an increasing concern
Catherine Bell, Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions (New York: Oxford University Press,
that Christians might be properly participating in the ritual while improperly interpreting its meaning and sought ways to correct this unacceptable practice. Or, put another way: it was no longer enough for Christians to simply perform the right ritual actions (i.e.: pray the Pater Noster, confess to a priest, take communion); following this understanding of orthodoxic practice, they had to demonstrate their understanding of what they were ritually enacting (be it the right sort of prayer, authentic conversion, or proper sacramental theology). Another aspect that impacted ritual was the transition from an oral society to a literate society. Other scholars have treated the impact of an increasingly literate urban lay population the sixteenth century and the subsequent spread of literacy to rural populations upon lay piety and religious education in Western Europe.256 However, the sixteenth century also saw an increased expectation of literate standards upon all of the laity, literate or not. Or, in the terminology of Brian Stock, there was an increased emphasis upon the written mode of communication, even for those who could neither read nor write. For example, oral tradition depends upon memory and its mode of communication is frequently in ritual and ceremony, “oriented around the ear.”257 Written culture, on the other hand, prioritizes authoritative texts and fidelity to that authority.258 Although Stock’s study of oral and written culture among theological elites
See Karin Maag, “Education and Literacy,” in Andrew Pettegree, ed., The Reformation World (London, Routledge, 2000), 535-544; Miriam Usher Chrisman, Lay Culture, Learned Culture: Books and Social Change in Strasbourg, 1480-1599 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982). 257
Brian Stock, The Implications of Literacy: Written Language and Models of Interpretation in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983), 14-15. 258
Stock, Implications, 17.
in Western Europe focuses on the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the sixteenth century saw an extension of the authoritative nature of the text to the laity, for whom a higher level of theological sophistication—in religious knowledge, ritual comprehension, and spiritual aptitude—was now expected.259 In the catechetical context, then, the Lord’s Prayer took on an increasingly textual function even for those believers who could not read text. Where its performance was once a ritual signifier of membership in the community, it became a piece of knowledge to be tested for accuracy and comprehension, alongside other pieces of knowledge. In the catechetical mode, the Lord’s Prayer—and prayer in general—became less performance-oriented and more content-oriented. Or, as Virginia Reinburg has described the ritual functions of prayer in her French Books of Hours, prayer in sixteenth century prayer books had functions of speech260 and functions of rite.261 The speech function of prayer is its use as dialogue between devotee (or the one praying) and the supernatural object, whether the God the Father, Jesus Christ, or the Blessed Virgin and saints (the one being prayed to). The Lord’s Prayer’s speech function is revealed in its being framed as a statement to the Father (in fact, “our” Father). Yet the Lord’s Prayer as speech is contingent upon its functioning as rite. The rite function of prayer is its performative aspect: the enacting of the speech and the
As put forward by Charles Taylor in the first chapter A Secular Age. Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007), 25-90. 260
Virginia Reinburg, French Books of Hours: Making an Archive of Prayer, c. 1400-1600 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 140-162. 261
speaking of the words, on the one hand; and the expression of the proper (even authentic) disposition and/or affect while enacting the speech, on the other. The Lord’s Prayer does not ritually function as prayer without the fulfillment of these two aspects of prayer. As the examination of Joan of Arc in 1431 illustrated, for the medieval layperson the public recitation of and examination upon Lord’s Prayer was inextricably tied to a specific ritual context. In the example of Joan’s trial, for her, any examination on the proper performance of the Lord’s Prayer was logically joined to auricular confession. Indeed, as I have argued, medieval laypeople generally would have understood the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in any context to be ritually performative: the prayer was only recited in connection to ritual performance, whether public (liturgy), private (prayer), or in between (examination prior to confession). As catechesis was re-ritualized by the sixteenth century reformers, however, the Lord’s Prayer receded from its previous prominence as the framework of catechesis to simply a prayer text, alongside two other central texts. Moreover, in the context of the catechism, the prayer also becomes just that—a text—as opposed to a performance. The re-ritualization of catechesis managed to, at least partially, strip the Lord’s Prayer of some of its performative status in the catechetical context. It became a text to memorize, alongside the Creed and the Ten Commandments, not a prayer; it lacked both the speech function, as it was not recited in the context of conversation with God, and the rite function, as there was no ritual intent, devotional affect, or authentic expression of the words. Even for illiterate believers, the transmission, recitation, memorization, and examination of the Lord’s Prayer, as a part of the catechetical canon, functioned solely as text: an authoritative body of content against which the student’s rehearsal of that content could be checked and approved. It fulfilled 124
the ritual requirements of prayer in neither the speech or rite aspects, and, consequently, was a prayer rendered ritually null: a prayer in content only. Yet the Lord’s Prayer did not completely lose all ritual context in its function within the texts of sixteenth century catechisms. In both Catholic and Protestant catechisms, as in Kolde’s Fruitful Mirror, each traditional catechetical “text” representing a central aspect of the Christian faith: the Creed representative of doctrinal knowledge, the Decalogue the pattern of righteous living, and the Lord’s Prayer stands in for prayer in general. Thus the Lord’s Prayer was still, by the close of the sixteenth century, unmistakably a central aspect to Christian faith and practice as the signifier of devotional practice; but it was by that point only one part, usually the final act, in the catechetical schema of necessary religious knowledge and its ritual transmission. To summarize the larger ritual transitions at play: in the turn from emphasizing orthopraxy to orthodoxy, the believer’s knowledge, not his or her ritual performance, was emphasized. Thus, in terms of making and forming Christians catechetically, at least, it was what they knew, rather than the rituals that they participated in, that demonstrated their membership in the Christian community. In the assessment of the believer’s knowledge, furthermore, his or her textual or interpretive fidelity to the Lord’s Prayer, rather than his or her ritual or ethical fidelity to it (i.e.: authentic expression of its affective qualities, proper performance within the liturgical context or sacramental rite, etc.) becomes the principal concern of the religious authorities. Thus, with the coming of the Reformation, catechisms were not ritually situated as they had been in the Middle Ages: they were not the guides to being Christian, they were the guides to what one must know in order to be considered a Christian. Why was this knowledge so emphasized? 125
Because central to the Protestant understanding of ritual efficacy was the concept of faith: more specifically, informed faith. Catechisms, then, took on the role of informing faith, and informed faith was a prerequisite to effective ritual participation and performance: both communally in liturgy and privately in prayer. The re-ritualization of Christian formation in the sixteenth century effected a fragmentation of the ritual aspects of Christian formation and paralleled a larger fragmentation of the Christian ritual system. In the wake of this, the Lord’s Prayer took on new ritual roles in each of the three aspects of Christian formation: liturgical participation, practices of private prayer, and, as I have explained, catechesis. 3.4.1 Catechisms in the Reformers’ Ritual Systems Historian Susan Karant-Nunn has claimed that the German Lutheran liturgy lost its doxological and sacramental element and took on an entirely formational role when “worship services in their entirety ceased…to be a replication of a miracle [as in the medieval Roman Catholic theology of the Mass] and became instead a means of shaping the individual faithful.”262 Here Karant-Nunn is referring to Luther’s reforms of the liturgy as intended to form the individual according to a Lutheran theological framework—confessional formation of the layperson. She is not referring to the liturgy’s ability to shape the individual according to a ritual framework; to instill in him or her a new understanding of how ritual works. I would argue, however, that both confessional formation and ritual formation were taking place in these liturgies, though I would not go
Susan Karant-Nunn, The Reformation of Ritual: An Interpretation of Early Modern Germany (New York: Routledge, 1997), 192.
so far as to evaluate early modern Lutheran liturgy as lacking any element of the miraculous or of the doxological. In Luther’s liturgies, and, I would add, Cranmer’s as well, the reformer’s primary goal of the individual faithful’s intellectual and vocal ritual participation is for the sake of intellectual, moral, and spiritual conversion for the sake of salvation, not merely for social or moral formation. In the medieval Catholic liturgy, by contrast, the primary goal of participation, in its multivalent expressions, was communion with the Body of Christ, achieved through ritual identification with Christ, Mary and the saints, or the Church. All of these participatory models, however, will be discussed further in the following chapter. What role did religious instruction play in the reformers’ renegotiations of the medieval Catholic ritual systems? Edward Muir has suggested that, broadly speaking, the Humanist approach to ritual saw ritual as valid only inasmuch as it authentically reflected the inner dispositions of the participant.263 Yet Michael Aune, in his discussion of Humanism and ritual in the thought of one prominent reformer, puts forward a different model of ritual efficacy. Aune is the only liturgical scholar to consider sixteenth century re-ritualization in the thought of one reformer in his discussion of the ritual theory of Philip Melanchthon, Luther’s reforming collaborator in Saxony. Aune has argued convincingly for the clear lines of continuity between Humanist rhetorical theory upon Melanchthon’s understanding of the workings of ritual and its connections to the process of conversion. Beginning with Melanchthon’s Apology to the Augsburg Confession,
Edward Muir, Ritual in Early Modern Europe (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 176. I will return to this in Chapter Four.
Aune breaks down the reformer’s understanding of ritual as forming belief, not merely expressing it: “Simultaneously through the Word and the rite God moves the heart to believe and take hold of faith… As the Word enters the ears to strike the heart, so the rite itself enters through the eyes to move the heart.”264 As Aune explains, Melanchthon’s understanding of the purpose of ritual was to “move the heart” of the believer toward conversion. Like rhetorical speech, which was meant to persuade a hearer, ritual was intended to lead to a change. The process and the aims of this ritual change, however, run much deeper than the intellectual change intended by rhetorical speech. Where the hearer was persuaded to think another way and, further, to act in accord with this new way of thinking, in Melanchthon’s model of ritual, ritual was employed not simply to change the hearer’s mind, but to incite a conversion at the very core of the believer: the heart. This was more than mere intellectual conversion—this was a change in who the believer was in relationship to Christ. For Melanchthon, then, ritual would not have been merely the external expression of an internal state, the Humanistic approach to ritual suggested by Muir. Rather, Melanchthon believed that ritual could also be utilized to effect that internal state and bring about internal change. Both, however, required faith prior to ritual participation, as Melanchthon’s discussion of sacraments in his “Answer to the Anabaptists,” explains: Just as the voice is perceived by our ears, so the Sacrament confronts our eyes to move our hearts to believe. And since the Sacraments contain promises, so we finally use them correctly
Apology of the Augsburg Confession 13.5 in Book of Concord, 219. Translation by Michael Aune, To Move the Heart: Philip Melanchthon’s Rhetorical View of Rite and its Implications for Contemporary Ritual Theory (San Francisco: International Scholars Publications 1994), 1.
when we believe that we attain those things which are promised, for promises require faith, as Paul teaches in Romans 4.265 Already nourished by faith, the heart is primed to be moved to belief in the promises expressed in ritual and so already predisposed to internal conversion. This being said, however, Melanchthon’s discussions of ritual are limited to sacramental ritual, rather than the broader understanding of ritual that encompasses not just liturgy and private prayer, but secular ritual as well. Nevertheless, Aune’s discussion of the rhetorical influence upon Melanchthon’s ritual theory of the process of conversion in sacrament complicates a simplistic general description of both renaissance Humanist and Protestant early modern ritual theory. Martin Luther’s understanding of the function of ritual, exemplified in his Small Catechism, on the other hand, seems to follow a different outline from Melanchthon’s approach as articulated by Aune. Luther’s Betbüchlein, which sets out a ritual of personal prayer according to the same pattern later taken up in his Small Catechism, suggests a dissimilar pattern from Melanchthon’s understanding of ritual as “moving the heart.” Where Melanchthon’s ritual theory used heard word and perceived action to propose a pattern of effective ritual of: intellectual comprehension (informed faith); engaged affection (hearts moved to believe the sacramental promises); conversion (new relationship to/through Christ). Luther’s Betbüchlein, however, takes up a slightly different pattern: engaged affection (sorrow over sin—the Ten Commandments); intellectual comprehension (informed faith—the Creed); and conversion (new
Philip Melanchthon, “Answer to the Anabaptists,” MS, 105. English translation and emphasis from Aune, Move the Heart, 58.
relationship to God—the Lord’s Prayer). For Luther, it was not that ritual was meant to persuade the believer, but to allow for or enable a process of conversion, built upon knowledge and relationship. Luther uses a traditional analogy of illness and medicine to explain the ritual pattern: recognizing one’s illness through the Ten Commandments; knowledge of the source of healing in the Creed; and seeking the medicine of grace through relationship with the Father through the Lord’s Prayer. Luther’s devotional and catechetical pattern of prayer as set out in his Betbüchlein and Small Catechism is a direct response to and rejection of the ritual patterns of prayer presented in medieval Books of Hours and prayer books. I will discuss Luther’s reform of patterns of prayer further in the fifth chapter of this dissertation, but it has relevance here as it is also representative of Luther’s innovation of ritual theory and its relation to catechesis. Medieval prayer books utilized devotional images and concepts, such as Christ’s passion, to stir up strong emotions in the reader so as to, through patterns of prayer and meditation, incite deeper love of Christ, drawing the reader into closer emotional and relational bond with Christ. As Berndt Hamm notes, however, Luther replaced the medieval ritual use of love as the hinge of conversion with faith, so that faith took on “the central soteriological and eschatological place that love had held…a central place that had long been bound up in love’s formative and operative qualities.” Thus, with Luther, “the formula went like this: love no longer forms faith; faith itself has become the form of a life guided by love.”266 It was through faith, not love, that believers
Berndt Hamm, The Early Luther: Stages in a Reformation Reorientation, Martin J. Lohrmann, trans. (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014), 79.
experienced salvation, and so it was faith, not love, that the believer was called back to through ritual. In the Lutheran context, unlike the late medieval Catholic context, it was faith, not ritual communion, identification, or participation, that united one with Christ and his saving promises. Ritual could only serve to express or to deepen that faith; it could not produce or stand in for it. In this schema, catechesis takes on the role of informing faith for the sake of ritual participation. The Protestant emphasis on the primacy of faith—specifically, faith as knowledge of and trust in God’s promises—required a basic level of theological training prior to sacramental participation. Protestant catechisms, then, related to the sacraments in as much as theological instruction informed faith, and faith and intellectual comprehension of the rite were necessary for sacramental participation. Luther, however, would not tie the validity and the efficacy of the sacraments to the believer’s intellectual faith alone. Rather, in Luther’s estimation, the validity and efficacy of the sacraments was “not bound by our faith but to the Word;”267 they were commanded by God and, as such, the sacraments were effective and valid in as much as they enacted the Word of God. So while faith was not a requirement of sacramental validity for Luther, faith is the means of the believer’s reception of God’s grace in the sacrament: “…when Word accompanies the water, Baptism is valid, even though faith is lacking. For my faith does not make baptism; rather it receives baptism.”268 Thus, in Lutheran practice, faith informed by the basics of the catechism was still necessary for sacramental efficacy.
Martin Luther, “Large Catechism,” The Book of Concord, Robert Kolb and Timothy Wengert, eds. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000), 463. Cited in Johnson, The Rites of Christian Initiation, 339. 268
Johnson, The Rites of Christian Initiation, 339.
The approach of the Church of England on this matter is unclear: Cranmer’s sacramental theology is notoriously difficult to tease out of his 1549 and 1552 editions of the Book of Common Prayer. Nevertheless, the requirement of the Book of Common Prayer that baptized children master the catechism before being confirmed and receiving communion implies that later basic knowledge of the catechism was tied to the flowering of the efficacy of the baptismal rite, made manifest and confirmed in the ceremony of the rite of confirmation.269 Later, in the second volume of the Book of Homilies published by the English ecclesial authorities in 1562, a sermon attributed to John Jewel270 on the sacraments describes sacraments as the way in which God “embraceth us, and offereth himself to be embraced of us,”271 as well as, in the vein of Luther, visible signs tied to a divine promise. Jewel also argues at length that the sacraments, as well as the common prayers of the people, must be celebrated in the people’s common tongue, else they cannot be edifying and the hearer cannot be stirred to life his heart in prayer to God.272 There seems to be, moreover, consonance with the rhetorical-ritual process of Melanchthon as described by Aune, where comprehended word and visible sign lead the believer to turn to God in prayer.
Not a sacrament in the Church of England, but a forma ritual nonetheless that illustrates the pattern of Cranmer’s ritual theory. 270
J.T. Tomlinson, The Prayer Book Articles and Homilies (London: Elliot Stock, 1897), 244.
“An Homily, wherein Is Declared, that Common Prayer and Sacraments Ought to Be Ministered in a Tongue that Is Understood of the Hearers,” in Sermons, or Homilies: Appointed to be Read in Churches, bk. II (London: Prayer Book and Homily Society, 1833), 242. 272
Finally, the Tridentine Catholic approach to sacramental efficacy, clearly stated in the Canons of the Council of Trent, states that the sacraments “contained and conferred” grace ex opere operato.273 However, the installation of programs and practices of catechesis and sacramental preparation in Catholic dioceses and parishes across Europe in the decades which followed the Council of Trent suggest that Catholic catechetical reformers and educators nevertheless saw basic catechetical instruction as central to at least the intellectual efficacy of sacramental and liturgical participation, if not to sacramental efficacy itself. This process of regulating sacramental reception—or, at least, reception of first communion and, therefore, signifying full communion into the Church—was begun following the Tridentine reforms but was not fully realized within most European Catholic dioceses until the eighteenth century.274 Nevertheless, requiring catechetical instruction prior to first communion was, effectively, to encourage doctrinally-informed lay ritual participation. 3.4.2 The Ritual Uses of Luther and Cranmer’s Catechisms Neither the Protestant nor the Catholic reformers rejected ritual outright in their catechetical reforms; rather, they reconsidered the function of catechesis within their newly revised ritual systems and inserted their catechisms within their reformed rituals for the sake of their catechetical-pedagogical aims. The Lutheran and Book of Common Prayer catechisms were given formal roles within the ritual systems of the Lutheran and
The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, trans. H.J. Schroeder (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1941), 51-52. 274
See Karen E. Carter, Creating Catholics: Catechism and Primary Education in Early Modern France (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2011).
English Churches. Luther and Cranmer integrated their catechisms into the living, praying, life of the church beyond sacramental preparation alone. Not only was the catechism frequently the material for homilies, both at regular Sunday services and in special catechetical seasons,275 but in some instances the catechism was also regularly recited as part of communal matins or vespers services.276 Moreover, both Luther’s Small Catechism and the Church of England’s 1553 Primer277 encouraged the development of patterns of daily prayer at home, for which the catechism served as a fitting manual to aid domestic liturgical prayer and private devotional prayer. In the Lutheran churches of Germany, the pattern of sacramental preparation by means of the Small Catechism varied according to each city and state. Across the German Lutheran states, multiple rites of confirmation developed, in particular contrast to Luther’s own feelings on the sacrament, which he derided as mere “Affenspiel (monkey business)”, among other things.278 As Arthur Repp explained in his comprehensive 1964 book on the topic, Confirmation in the Lutheran Church, although all Lutheran bodies eventually came to adopt some manner of formal confirmation ceremony, “confirmation” in its varied practice at the time, was not widespread by the
Quarterly catechetical sermon series were prescribed in Wittenburg in 1533, for example. Arand, That I May Be His Own, 78; Carl Meusel, Kirchliches Handlexicon, vol. III (Leipzig: Justus Naumann, 1891), 723; Emil Sehling, ed., Die Evangelishchen Kirchenordnungen des XVI Jahrhunderts, vol I. (Leipzig: O.R. Reisland, 1902), 711. 276
Sixteenth century Lutheran church ordinances called for weekly or biweekly catechism preaching services. Arand, That I May Be His Own, 78; Meusel III:723. 277
Joseph Ketley, ed., The Primer in The Two Liturgies with other Documents Set Forth by Authority in the Reign of King Edward the Sixth (Cambridge: University Press, 1844), 382-438. 278
WA 10 II:282 and WA 10 II:266; Johnson, The Rites of Christian Initiation, 353; Arthur Repp, Confirmation in the Lutheran Church (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1964), 15.
end of the sixteenth century.279 Nevertheless, Repp distinguished four types of confirmation in Lutheran practice in the sixteenth century, most of which were influenced by Martin Bucer and featured a heavy emphasis on catechesis as a requirement for the rite, and, consequently, confirmation as a requirement for admittance to the Lord’s Supper.280 In addition to its required mastery for participation in the rite of confirmation and admission to communion, some Lutheran cities’ sixteenth-century ordinances required that adults had to demonstrate their mastery of the Small Catechism before they could serve as baptismal sponsors and in order to receive the church’s blessing on their marriages.281 The catechism functioned in the liturgical life of the Lutheran tradition in a number of roles. As both Bruno Jordahn and Charles Arand describe at length, Luther’s catechism was frequently utilized as a text for preaching, both seasonally and generally.282 The entire text of the Small Catechism, or portions of it, were also used in the Sunday liturgy: the Ten Commandments were reflected on as preparation for confession (in its
Arthur C. Repp, Confirmation in the Lutheran Church (St Louis: Concordia Publishing House,
1964), 21. 280
Ibid; Eugene Brand, “New Rites of Initiation and Their Implications: in the Lutheran Churches,” Living Water, Sealing Spirit: Readings on Christian Initiation, Maxwell Johnson, ed. (Collegeville, MN: Pueblo, 1995), 294. 281
Robert Kolb, “The Layman’s Bible: The Use of Luther’s Catechisms in the German Late Reformation,” Luther’s Catechisms—450 Years: Essays Commemorating the Small and Large Catechisms of Dr. Martin Luther (Fort Wayne: Concordia Theological Seminary Press, 1979), 19. 282
Bruno Jordahn, “Katechismus-Gottesdienst in Reformations jahrhundert,” Luther: Mitteilungen der Luthergellschaft 30 (1959): 66-68; Arand, That I May Be His Own, 58-64. See also Mary Jane Haemig, “The Living Voice of the Catechism: German Lutheran Catechetical Preaching 1530-1580: A Thesis,” PhD Diss, Harvard University, 1996.
waning Lutheran context),283 the Creed was sung as a hymn, and the Lord’s Prayer was prayed in unison and explained as preparation for communion.284 In Naumburg, for example, the entire Small Catechism was read and recited after the Gospel reading during the Sunday Communion service.285 More frequently, Sunday Matins and Vespers would include catechetical hymns and preaching on the Catechism; indeed, in Naumburg and Wittenburg in 1537, Sunday Vespers was essentially a weekly catechism service for the whole parish.286 For students, Luther suggested that weekday Matins services featured a set pattern of preaching on the catechism: Mondays and Tuesdays were given over to catechetical material, where the other days of the week covered Scripture.287 And in terms of the domestic church, Luther recommended a pattern of praying with his Small Catechism—further outlined in his 1535 “A Simple Way to Pray”—that could be prayed alone or as a family, involving catechetical hymns and prayers.288 In England, the baptismal rite of the 1549 Book of Common Prayer included a rubric that directed the bishop to confirm children when and if they could recite, in English, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, and have received
For the practice of confession in Lutheran Nuremberg, see Ronald K. Rittgers, The Reformation of the Keys: Confession, Conscience, and Authority in Sixteenth-Century Germany (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004). 284
Arand, That I May Be His Own, 76-77.
Sehling II:71; Jordahn, “Katechismus-Gottesdienst,” 71; Theodore Laetsch, “The Catechism in Public Worship,” Concordia Theological Monthly 4n3 (March, 1934), 238-239; Kolb, “The Layman’s Bible,” 18. 286
Sehling I:527, II:71; Jordahn, “Katechismus.” 71-73.
Ibid, 72-73; Arand, That I May Be His Own, 78.
instruction in the catechism. The rite of confirmation in England, as discussed, was preceded by an explanation that the rite occurs only after proper catechetical instruction of children in the accompanying catechism. The rite consisted first of a catechetical examination by the bishop or another minister, followed by a prayer, and concluded with a hand-laying rite and prayer. According to rubrics, no one was to be admitted to Holy Communion without having first been catechized and confirmed. However, confirmation was not regularly practiced in sixteenth-century England and was not considered a sacrament, thought it was recommended as a beneficial ceremony.289 For the most part, then, catechetical instruction and mastery of the catechism became a prerequisite for admittance into holy communion, as was practiced on the continent.290 Furthermore, pastors were required to instruct their parishioners, particularly children, in the catechism each Sunday, usually in public with an audience.291 Not only did many ministers comply with this directive, but by 1622 King James also required that the evening prayer service’s sermon be catechetical in content.292 The 1662 Book of Common Prayer, further, instructed pastors to catechize after Evening Prayer’s second lesson, not just prior to the service, effectively formally inserting the catechism into Sunday evening liturgy.293
“An Homily, wherein Is Declared, that Common Prayer and Sacraments Ought to Be Ministered,” 242. 290
Fredrica Harris Thompsett, “Godly Instruction in Reformation England,” A Faithful Church: Issues in the History of Catechesis, John H. Westerhoff III and O.C. Edwards, Jr., eds. (Wilton, CT: Morehouse-Barlow, 1981), 192. 291
Ian Green, The Christian’s ABC: Catechisms and Catechizing in England, c.1530-1740 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 102-112. 292
Ibid., 102; Turrell, “Catechisms,” 504.
Brightman, English Rite, i. 791; Green, The Christian’s ABC, 112.
The liturgical functions of Roman Catholic catechisms both continued along the lines of the late medieval liturgical functions of the catechetical texts but were also reformed in response to contemporary Protestant practices of catechesis and sacramental preparation. In the catechisms and the catechetical programs put forward by the likes of Charles Borromeo and other reforming bishops,294 the traditional catechetical texts were learned and those texts continued to have their place in the liturgies and rites, serving as a means of lay liturgical participation, as we will see in Chapter Four. However, in practice, the liturgical dimension of early modern Catholic catechetical instruction was transformed: in time, the teaching, memorizing, and reciting of the catechism came to be inextricably linked not to Confirmation, as developed in many Protestant churches, but to the reception of first communion. Where early Church ritual instruction of catechumens took place in the weeks before their baptism at the Paschal Vigil, and late medieval catechetical interrogation occurred during the annual (particularly Lenten) confession to one’s parish priest prior to one’s Easter communion, early modern catechetical instruction of children culminated with a public catechism recital and their reception of first communion, usually in the days or weeks after Easter Sunday.295 Protestant reformers utilized the formative power of ritual in the early generations of the Reformation not only as part of their pedagogical strategy but also as part of their evangelical theology: Gerald Strauss tells us that the concept of “einbilden (to impress, imprint, incise deeply and lastingly) became a critical methodological concept and an
John Bossy, “The Counter-Reformation and the People of Catholic Europe,” Past & Present n47 (May 1970), 65-66. 295
Carter, Creating Catholics, 93-94.
indispensible pedagogical technique in Protestant education."296 If impressing the truths of the catechetical canon onto the souls of the young was the goal of catechesis, Strauss explains, early Lutheran reformers believed that it could be achieved only through memorization by means of repetition.297 Yet the early Protestant reformers understood that the most effective way to instill a message through repetition was in the context of ritual: the catechism allowed them to shape children through “habits of thought,” as Strauss emphasizes,298 but also, and more effectively, through ritual habits: within the celebration of liturgy, as part of sacramental preparation, and through the use of these texts in patterns of daily prayer. Nevertheless, according to Strauss, “later Protestant pedagogy shifted the emphasis from the spirit to the words themselves, and from God's living presence in Scripture to the Bible as a code of doctrine.”299 In Strauss’ estimation, the Lutheran re-ritualization of the catechism, at least, effectively dulled the message of the catechism, just as, in a parallel manner, the function of the Lord’s Prayer in the catechism served to deprive it of its inherent ritual intent.
3.5 Conclusion: Re-Ritualizing Catechesis The re-ritualization of Christian formation resulted in a re-ritualization of the role of catechesis in the sixteenth century. Catechesis for the sake of ritual identification with the group and ritual identification with the group as the basis of ritual participation was 296
Strauss, Luther’s House, 153.
no longer the dominant understanding of the relationship between catechesis, Christian identity, and ritual efficacy. The Lord’s Prayer—once the backbone of catechesis in the Middle Ages, the marker of Christian identity, as demonstrated in Joan of Arc’s trial, and the key to effective ritual participation—lost its place of prominence in this renegotiated system of Christian formation. As the catechism as a set text—Creed, Decalogue, and Lord’s Prayer—and as a physical object grew in prominence as the paradigm of Christian education, rather than the medieval ritual pattern, the Lord’s Prayer receded from its previous prominence and was relegated to its position alongside the other texts of the catechism. At the same time, the Lord’s Prayer, in its role as a part of the Catechism text, increasingly gained a textual, rather than performative, emphasis. Catechisms were memorized for the sake of attaining the necessary religious knowledge that was required before one was allowed to participate in the sacraments of maturity: receiving communion, acting as a sponsor in baptism, and, especially in the Lutheran context, being confirmed. As a portion of that catechism text, the Lord’s Prayer was repeated during the memorization process, checked before participation in communion, and proclaimed in front of the congregation at confirmation and baptism, along with the Creed and the Ten Commandments. But unlike the Creed, which is essentially a faith statement, and the Ten Commandments, which are a moral code, the Lord’s Prayer is a petitionary prayer, meant as a dialogue between devotee and God. In those aforementioned catechetical scenarios when it was recited alongside the Creed and Decalogue, however, the Prayer that Jesus taught his disciples was not performed as a prayer; it was one of three or more texts recited to prove its retention in the believer’s 140
memory. In its catechetical functions in the sixteenth century, then, the Lord’s Prayer ceased to operate as a prayer. As the fourth and fifth chapters of this dissertation will illustrate, however, the reritualization of catechesis during the sixteenth century and the relocation of the Lord’s Prayer within the catechism did not result in the complete loss of the Lord’s Prayer’s ritual and performative aspects in prescribed lay usage. In the Catholic and Protestant sixteenth-century reforms of liturgy and practices of private prayer, the Lord’s Prayer retained its ritual function as a performance of prayer.
CHAPTER 4: RE-RITUALIZING LITURGICAL PARTICIPATION: THE LORD’S PRAYER IN REFORMATION LITURGY
One of the major topics of dispute in the study of late medieval and early modern liturgy is the liturgical participation of laypeople. Protestant authors from the sixteenth century into the twentieth300—joined by numerous historians301 and Catholic scholars302 in the mid-twentieth century—generally held that late medieval Catholics were not able to participate truly in the liturgies they attended, as they did not participate in congregational response and could not hear, let alone understand, the prayers and readings mumbled in Latin. Yet historians from the last quarter of the twentieth century onward have made persuasive arguments to the contrary: that late medieval laypeople
A position held by Luther, Cranmer, their Protestant successors, and still apparent in Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy (London: Dacre Press, 1945). 301
The most prominent example is perhaps Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (New York: Scribner, 1971). 302
See, for example, Josef Jungmann, S.J., "The Defeat of Teutonic Arianism and the Revolution in Religious Culture in the early Middle Ages," Pastoral Liturgy (New York: Herder and Herder, 1962), 1101; Godfrey Diekmann, O.S.B., “Popular Participation and the History of Christian Piety,” Participation in the Mass, North American Liturgical Week 1959, Notre Dame (Washington, D.C.: Liturgical Conference 1960), 52-63; J.H. Emminghaus, The Eucharist: Essence, Form, Celebration (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1997); and R. Cabié, The Church at Prayer: The Eucharist, vol.2 (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1992).
understood themselves to be liturgical participants in a variety of ways that simply did not meet the requirements of true liturgical participation according to later liturgical sensibilities (and confessional theologies).303 Most early modern and modern discussions of lay participation seemed to understand the concept as it was eventually articulated in Sacrosanctum Concilium—as “full, active, and conscious”304—usually interpreted as intellectually comprehended by the congregation, the members of which interact with the minister by means of verbal response in a dialogic mode. Historian of Reformation liturgies James White classified two types of lay participation for his own discussion of the topic. White distinguished between passive participation of the people and active participation of the people in the liturgy. White explains: “‘Passive (or receptive) participation’ means people hearing or seeing someone else do something… ‘Active participation’ means people doing things themselves: praying, singing, shouting, dancing.” 305 Moreover, as White points out, Christian concepts of participation have not remained constant; where, in the Roman Catholic late Middle Ages, participation was understood as primarily a visual activity (such as witnessing the actions and gestures of the Mass and seeing the elevated host), this concept shifted during the sixteenth century, when it was understood as an auditory
The most prominent examples include Virginia Reinburg and Eamon Duffy, as well as Joseph A. Gribbin, "Lay Participation in the Eucharistic Liturgy of the Later Middle Ages," Ministerial and Common Priesthood in the Eucharistic Celebration (London: The Saint Austin Press, 1998), 51-69; R.N. Swanson, "Prayer and Participation in Late Medieval England," in Elite and Popular Religion: Papers Read at the 2004 Summer Meeting and the 2005 Winter Meeting of the Ecclesiastical History Society, ed. Kate Cooper and Jeremy Gregory (Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2006),130-139. 304
Sacrosanctum Concilium, 14.
James White, Protestant Worship: Tradition in Transition (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1989), 17.
experience (hearing the Gospel, listening to the sermon, understanding the prayers). “At stake in the Reformation conflict,” White suggests, “was whether real participation was by eye or by ear.”306 In the estimation of many modern liturgical scholars, like their early modern counterparts, participation by ear was superior. For much of the past four hundred years, scholars utilized a limited framework to interpret the extent of late medieval lay liturgical participation. Confessional and theological bias on the part of Protestant voices resulted in little sympathy for anything other than the Protestant manner of congregational participation: through song and response, in the vernacular, informed by systematic catechetical instruction. Catholic and Protestant scholars alike seemingly did not conceive of a manner of participation beyond their own (early) modern notions of participation. Thus, judging late medieval liturgy by these standards, they dismissed any notion of true participation among laypeople before the Reformation. In their minds, medieval Catholic laypeople—incapable of comprehending the Latin rite, their responses relegated to the choir or deacons, and woefully ignorant of the sacraments and the liturgy in general—experienced no real liturgical participation in the Roman Rite from the early Middle Ages (when Latin ceased to be the vernacular) until the sixteenth century. The contributions of such religious historians as Miri Rubin, Virginia Reinburg, Eamon Duffy, and Aden Kumler, among others,307 however, have served to both
See especially Miri Rubin, Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991); Virginia Reinburg, “Popular Prayers in Late Medieval and Reformation France,” PhD diss., Princeton University, 1985 and "Liturgy and the laity in late Medieval and Reformation France," The Sixteenth Century Journal 23 (1992): 526-547; Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of
complicate and enrich our understanding of the laity’s participation in late medieval liturgy. The work of Reinburg in particular has done much to break down modern (or perhaps, rather, early modern) notions of what counts as “real” participation in the liturgy. Furthermore, as Rubin, Duffy, and Kumler describe, numerous expressions of this complicated notion of lay participation can be found to develop in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries as the catechetical and liturgical reforms of the Fourth Lateran Council took hold, resulting in an increasingly educated and invested lay population. Thus, we will not, in this chapter, discuss whether fifteenth century laypeople truly participated in the liturgy and sacraments of the Church, as others have already established that they indeed did participate in a real way according to their own understanding. Nor will we consider the intricacies of how precisely medieval laypeople or their sixteenth century counterparts participated in the liturgy. Instead, this chapter will argue that one central dispute in ritual theory in the sixteenth century was not simply over how the people participated in the liturgy, but over what the larger function of lay liturgical participation was. This chapter will examine the place of the Lord’s Prayer in the reformed liturgies of Martin Luther, Thomas Cranmer, and the Council of Trent in order to consider the reformers’ understanding of the ritual function of congregational liturgical participation.
the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580, 2nd ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992) and "Lay Appropriation of the Sacraments in the later Middle Ages." New Blackfriars 77.90 (1996): 53-68; and Aden Kumler, Translating Truth: Ambitious Images and Religious Knowledge in Late Medieval France and England (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011).
4.1 Belonging and Participating in the Fifteenth Century As previously discussed in the second chapter, the Lord’s Prayer, in addition to the Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Ave Maria, served in the Middle Ages and into the sixteenth century as a marker of Christian identity. Further, it functioned as the key prayer text for participation in the rituals that marked entrance into the Church, reunion with the Church in penance, and sponsorship of another’s entrance into the Church. To know the prayer and to recite it during the ritual was to be marked as belonging to the Church, which enabled one to participate in the liturgy. The laity were taught that their presence at the liturgy, as members of the community, allowed them to participate through this communal identification, played out in social gesture and a symbolic interpretation of the Mass. As Virginia Reinburg has noted, the sacramental requirements for the Mass did not account for laypeople’s participation; only the priest celebrant’s participation was considered. Yet the laity were taught, in their prayer books and through instructional manuals for their pastors, that their presence at the Mass was important and was spiritually beneficial to them: most significantly, that they participated by merit of their presence as members of the community. Virginia Reinburg explains: [W]hat we find in the laity’s prayer books, as distinct from the clergy’s missal, is a notion of lay participation in the mass quite different from that on which the Protestant and Catholic reformers later insisted. Before the Reformation, the laity’s participation was supposed to be less concerned with the intellectual grasp of eucharistic doctrine or scriptural teachings, than with assuming a proper role in the drama of the mass. While eucharistic theology taught that only the clerical celebrant had a sacramentally necessary role in the liturgy, lay prayer books presented the laity’s role as equally necessary in a social sense. What lay prayer books reveal—and missals do not—is the pre-Reformation mass as a
ritual drama in which both priest and congregation had distinct, but equally necessary parts to play.308 In their socially focused presentations of the ritual patterns of the Mass, the laity were taught that their ritual participation hinged on their identification with and within the community.309 The Lord’s Prayer, then, as a prayer that both marked and was integral to the rituals that marked one as a Christian, would have been the liturgical key, or even password, to their part in the drama. As Thomas M. Greene explains, “each medieval individual [w]as endowed with a ceremonial identity” in society and in the ecclesial community, and, while ritual helped to form this identity, the ceremonial identity was also the layperson’s entrance into ceremonial participation.310 The second chapter of this dissertation has already discussed explicit instances of lay participation by means of the Lord’s Prayer in the late medieval sacramental rites of baptism and penance, in a variety of ways during the Mass. Outside of the eucharistic liturgy, Nathan Ristuccia has described how Rogationtide processions allowed laypeople to not only participate by means of reciting the Lord’s Prayer and perambulating with the procession, but also to mark their membership in the ritual community by participating in the procession (and, conversely, to participate by means of that membership).311 Both
Reinburg, “Liturgy and the Laity,” 529-530.
That is to say, their participation hinged on taking up dual roles: as participating by means of identification with the community as a whole and as having a distinct role to play as an individual member. 310
Thomas M. Greene, “Ritual and Text in the Renaissance,” Reading the Renaissance, Jonathan Hart, ed. (New York: Garland, 1996), 17-18. 311
Nathan Ristuccia, “The Transmission of Christendom: Ritual and Instruction in the Early Middle Ages” (PhD diss., University of Notre Dame, 2013), 175-182. See also Paul W. Robinson, “Sermons on the Lord’s Prayer and the Rogation Days in the Later Middle Ages,” A History of Prayer: The First to the Fifteenth Century, Roy Hammerling, ed. (Boston: Brill, 2008), 441-462.
explicit (spoken/active) participation and participation by means of communal identification and membership are at work here to allow laypeople to gain entrance into the ritual of the liturgy, to make meaning of it and of their role in it. Regarding late medieval lay participation in the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist, it can be said that the members of the congregation participated by means of their reception of the sacrament. Their reception is then contingent upon their explicit participation in prayer—such as reciting the Lord’s Prayer—and interaction with the minister during the ritual (as evident in the baptismal and penitential rites). The medieval sources, then, demonstrate the necessity of a basic ritual proficiency in the rite and the lay participants’ proper responses in order for the sacrament to be valid. This pattern for sacramental participation is demonstrated in John Mirk’s Instructions for Parish Priests and the Lay Folk’s Catechism, both of which speak to the priestly obligation, in late fourteenth-century England at least, to ensure that their flock knew the right words to say at the proper times during the rites to ensure their participation and the ritual validity of the sacrament.312 However, the congregation’s participation in the eucharistic liturgy—particularly the reception of communion—was not so straightforward. While sacramental communion (actually consuming the consecrated bread) was seen as the ideal means of participating in the sacrament, the laity did not frequently receive beyond major feasts, most importantly annual communion at Easter.313 Consequently, alternative conceptions
See Lay Folks’ Catechism, ed. Thomas Simmons (London: Early English Text Society, 1901), 7; John Mirk, Instructions for Parish Priests (New York: Greenwood Press, 1969). 313
Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 95.
developed to explain how the laity could participate in the sacrament even while not consuming the host and not comprehending the prayers. These alternate means of communion were theorized in part due to the laity’s infrequent communion, to their frequent Mass attendance, and also to the period’s high eucharistic theology. Aden Kumler has laid out a helpful paradigm of the medieval modes of eucharistic reception according to the elements of the sacrament. In terms of thirteenth century scholastic theology, the sacrament was understood to contain the sacramentum (the bread and wine as visible signs), the res et sacramentum (the true body and blood of Christ), and the res tantum (the mystical union between the communicant, God, and the corpus mysticum).314 Reception of the sacrament involved at least one of these three aspects, so that Christians could receive the eucharist in three different manners. First, they could receive the eucharist sacramentally: physical reception of the sacrament with the intention to receive it as the sacred sign of Christ’s body and blood. They could also receive it spiritually: attaining communion with God and the Body of Christ (the church) through faith. Finally, they could receive merely the consecrated bread without recognizing the sign— no communion, either sacramentally or spiritually.315 Developing concurrently with the liturgical innovation of the elevation of the host during the consecration was the idea of spiritual communion—receiving the res tantum—not through physical ingestion, but through visual reception.316
Kumler, Translating Truth, 146.
This visual reception, known as ocular communion, was widely accepted and practiced and became the most frequent means of eucharistic “reception” and participation in the liturgy. Late medieval prayer books witness to the understanding that laypeople participated in ocular communion by means of their presence, their sacramental gazing upon the host, and their prayerful greeting of Christ present in the host. Prayer books from the period contain numerous prayers—vernacular and Latinate, in formal verse and succinct prose—written especially for laypeople to memorize and recite to themselves during the elevation of the host. These prayers served liturgically to connect the believer to the ritual actions of the Mass, devotionally to unite the devotee to the drama of the sacrament, and catechetically to align the devotee’s eucharistic theology with the theology of the church on such concepts as Real Presence and worthy reception. Therefore, participation was achieved by means of, and for the sake of, identification with the Church, even without deeper knowledge of the rites in which one was participating or the theology of the Church with which one was identifying. As Tanner and Watson have pointed out, medieval Christian identity was determined by participation in the rituals that ritually marked one as a participating member of the Church.317 Since participation in those rituals involved, at a bare minimum, the knowledge of the proper prayers, the prayers themselves became markers of Christian identity. Laypeople may have sought out supplementary religious knowledge than these “bare minimums,” but further theological expertise was not required for participation in
Norman Tanner and Sethina Watson, “Least of the Laity: The Minimum Requirements of a Medieval Christian,” Journal of Medieval History 32 (2006): 397-399.
the liturgy, the sacraments, or the life of the Church, by merit of the faith of the Church and the theological knowledge of the clergy.318 Being Christian hinged upon the laity’s identification as members of the Christian Church, as did their participation in the benefits of the Church’s system of grace, even when they infrequently received the sacraments themselves. Personal identification was central to participation: for example, the faithful might participate in the liturgy by means of personal identification with a saint, such as with the Virgin Mary or the aged Simeon at the Feast of the Presentation, as Kumler suggests,319 or participate in spiritual reception of the eucharist by identifying with the local community gathered in worship on whose behalf the priest consecrated and consumed the Body and Blood of Jesus. Indeed, when laypeople did partake in the Eucharist and consume the host, the prayers recommended on the occasion of their reception tended to emphasize identification with Christ, by means of communion with and incorporation into the Body of Christ—Christ’s resurrected body, yes—but more importantly into his mystical Body that is the Church.320 Even the ritual alternative to sacramental reception, the passing of the pax board, emphasized this ecclesial communion; seen in this light, then, the pax board ritual takes on a deeper, sacramental character.321 Its participants were ritually communing with the community but they are
Tanner and Watson, “Least of the Laity,” 399-400.
Kumler, Translating Truth, 220-221.
Edward Muir, Ritual in Early Modern Europe (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997),
Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 125-129.
also communing with the Body of Christ (the Church) following their communal ocular communion with the Body of Christ (the elevated Host). At issue, of course, is what it meant to be Christian—what constituted Christian identity? To be a member of the Body of Christ as a member of the Church, to have faith in Christ, to imitate Christ, or some combination? For those clergy and educated lay people of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries influenced by Humanism in their education322 and by the Devotio Moderna movement in their spiritual formation,323 personal imitation of Christ as a marker of Christian identity was increasingly pushed to the forefront. For them, imitation of Christ required a thorough knowledge of Christ’s life and a personal appropriation or lived interpretation of that knowledge of Christ. This understanding of Christian life stressed the individual’s moral actions over the ceremonies of the Church and was deeply concerned with hermeneutics, so that the individual’s personal comprehension and interpretation was prioritized. 324 For clergy educated in the Humanist fashion, this translated into an approach to Christian formation that hinged upon individual interpretation of Scripture, meaningful individual participation in ritual, and a strong personalized piety. The individual’s interpretation or making of meaning—in his or her understanding of the faith, participation in ritual, and prayer life—was of the utmost importance, not the Church’s interpretation. The safety
For more on Humanism’s influence on the reformers’ understanding of ritual, see Muir, Ritual,
Emphasizing personal imitation and identification with Christ, the Devotio Moderna is best characterized by Thomas à Kempis’, The Imitation of Christ, dating from c. 1418-1427. 324
Muir, Ritual, 176.
net of communal Christian identity as the marker of communal participation in liturgy was seen as insufficient: each believer participated in the liturgy and the rituals of the faith only inasmuch he or she understood the rituals’ impact and obligation upon his or her life. The Christian rituals were not what formed believers into the Body of Christ; the believer was obliged to imitate Christ in order to effectively participate in the Christian rituals. And the believer best imitated Christ—was best formed for ritual participation— by studying scripture and developing a personal relationship with God in prayer.325 Thus, humanists disdained (or, at best, distrusted) the ability of communal ritual to form believers in the imitation of Christ. In their approach to ritual and faith, ritual was meant to act as a communal confirmation or formalization of the individual faith of the gathered believers, or perhaps even a regular, communal renewal or affirmation of the believer’s private faith. Faith must precede ritual participation for the participation to be genuine. The Protestant reformers seized upon this understanding of the role of ritual participation in forming believers and incorporated this framework in their new sacramental systems, particularly in the Reformed tradition. There remained, however, the issue of an entire population almost wholly uneducated, unable to read scripture for themselves, unable to authentically pray on their own (according to the humanists’ standards of true, informed prayer), and, thus, unable to comprehend or truly participate in the church’s rituals. How were they to be reformed according to this ideal of Christian identity? Here ritual participation took on another role for the reformers, one where they
In his Enchiridion and elsewhere, Erasmus famously attacks ceremony and an emphasis on the physical presence of Christ, favoring instead knowledge of Christ and a close relationship to him in prayer. Erasmus, Enchiridion, in The Enchiridion of Erasmus, ed. and trans. Raymond Himelick (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1963), 113ff. Also noted in Muir, Ritual, 177.
saw ritual as a means to instill the values of scriptural and theological knowledge and a strong personal devotion into individual Christians. In this approach, liturgy took on a primarily pedagogical role: for a population that lacked literacy, ritual became the best means to instill the basics of the faith, to mediate the Word of God, and to instruct in prayer. As we will see in the following examinations of laypeople’s liturgical and sacramental participation, both of these approaches to ritual participation are evident in the laity’s participating in the liturgies and sacramental rites of the Lutheran, Anglican, and Roman Catholic churches. At the same time, however, the older medieval Catholic approach of participation by means of identification with the community—and participation’s role in forming that identity—are in many ways still retained. I will first consider the model of participation where faith is primary. If participation is contingent upon faith, reformers such as Luther and Cranmer reasoned, then faith must first be theologically informed by means of the catechism so that the believer knows the truths of the faith that he or she professes. In addition to being theologically informed, this faith must also be spiritually formed by means of personal prayer so that the believer has a personal connection to the God with whom he or she intends to communicate in prayer and commune in sacrament. In regard to the Lord’s Prayer, every liturgical Protestant confessional tradition (Lutheran, English, and also Reformed) insisted that the believer demonstrate his or her knowledge of the Lord’s Prayer in order to participate in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and also sought to ground the believer’s prayer life in the Lord’s Prayer.326 This model of participation,
As was discussed in Chapter Three and will be discussed at length in Chapter Five.
where informed faith is seen as a prerequisite for authentic, effective participation, was foreign not only to the medieval sacramental system, but also to the patristic approach to the sacraments. It is the result of an individualistic, intellectual model of conversion and the sacramental system and it was not, as we will see, an approach limited to the Protestant branch of Christianity in the early modern era. Turning to the second, “formed through ritual” model of participation, we encounter an approach to participation that would not have been unknown to Patristic and medieval sensibilities. This approach to forming faith by means of participation—where communal recitation of prayers and repetition of ritual helps to imprint texts, teachings, and patterns of prayer upon participants—was utilized by medieval liturgical reformers327 and sixteenth century reformers alike to facilitate the illiterate masses’ memorization of the Lord’s Prayer and formation according to Catholic or Protestant ideals. This approach made the most sense for the formation (and reformation) of the Christian laity according to new theological and sacramental principles. Inculcating and educating the uneducated, illiterate masses in the faith and according to the particular church’s catechism was going to be possible through the use of ritual: practiced through liturgical participation and periodically substantiated through sacramental reception. This approach also followed the medieval and patristic precedent; neither requiring prior informed faith, nor insisting upon prior identification with the Church and with Christ, for effective participation, but allowing both to deepen and develop through ongoing
See Chapter Two regarding the Lord’s Prayer and the liturgical reforms of the Fourth Lateran
participation. This approach was most prominent in early modern Roman Catholic practice, but was not unknown in the practices of Protestant churches.
4.2 Lay Participation and the Lord’s Prayer in Martin Luther’s Reforms Luther’s liturgical reforms and alterations to the sacramental system involved all three of these approaches to participation: participation through identification, formation by means of participation, and participation through primacy of faith. For Luther it was imperative that the laity be able to understand the prayers of the sacramental liturgies that they participated in—this was primarily achieved, as we will see, through the translation of the liturgy into the vernacular. Regarding formation through Lutheran worship, Luther speaks of a process whereby the Lord’s Prayer, along with the Creed and Ten Commandments, was impressed (einbilden) upon the people through liturgical use of the Small Catechism.328 In the communion rite of the Deutsche Messe, the Lord’s Prayer was also proclaimed to the congregation as an invitation and caution for sacramental reception: it informed the faith of the believer who dared both to call God “Father” and to consume the body and blood of the Son.329 Luther’s reforms also did not eliminate the approach to participation as identification or membership in the Church and the Body of Christ. For Luther, Christian participation in the liturgy and the sacrament derived from the Christian’s identification with Christ by merit of baptism. It is the Christian’s
WA 37:246, cited in Gerald Strauss, Luther’s House of Learning: Indoctrination of the Young in the German Reformation (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978), 153. See also Chapter Three. 329
baptismal vocation to participate in the prayer and sacrament of the Church and it was through liturgical and sacramental participation that this baptismal identity was strengthened. Intrinsic to Luther’s understanding of participation as the Christian’s baptismal vocation was that the people be able to comprehend the liturgy and enabled to participate in the prayers of the liturgy. Two major steps were required to achieve this: an intelligible liturgy, celebrated in a familiar language, with opportunities for vocal response, and a more theologically-educated laity. According to Luther, it was essential to the flourishing of their faith that the people possess the basics of religious knowledge—the Lord’s Prayer, Creed, and Ten Commandments—when they participate in the sacraments and worship of the church. As he explained in his Small Catechism, the state of catechetical ignorance in the visitations “constrained and compelled” him to create the catechism: most Christians he encountered knew absolutely nothing about the Christian faith, but still all bore the name Christian, were baptized, and received the sacrament, even though they did not know the Lord’s Prayer.330 In Luther’s estimation, ignorance of the Lord’s Prayer was incompatible with sacramental reception and the living of the Christian life and he instructed pastors to bar anyone who refused to learn the catechism from communion and not allow them to serve as baptismal sponsors. They were, in their ignorance, effectively excommunicating themselves from the Christian community and the evangelical life. Knowledge of the Lord’s Prayer was required for identification with and participation in the life and worship of the community. How, then, 330
WA 30 I:264-266, English translation from The Book of Concord, Robert Kolb, Timothy Wengert, and Charles Arand (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000), 347.
in Luther’s understanding, did participation function for the formation of laypeople? An examination of the place of the Lord’s Prayer in Luther’s liturgical reforms will give us some insight into the functions of participation in Lutheran practice. The baptismal liturgy as a ritual of initiation into participation and the ritual site of the traditio, or handing over of the Lord’s Prayer, in Patristic and medieval practice, demonstrates how the use of the Lord’s Prayer reflects a changing approach to participation. For example, Luther’s insistence that the people know the Lord’s Prayer in order to serve as baptismal sponsors makes sense in light of his baptismal liturgy. In his first Taufbüchlein of 1523, Luther instructs the godparents to kneel and, with the priest, recite the Lord’s Prayer as he lays his hand on the child’s head and prays it.331 The 1526 second Taufbüchlein retains these same rubrics.332 Obviously, knowledge of the prayer was necessary in order to recite it with the priest during this part of the rite. Something more, however, was at play here, and Luther spoke to this connection in the epilogue to his 1523 first Taufbüchlein. In the midst of arguing for the necessity of performing baptisms in the vernacular for the sake of the people’s comprehension of the sacrament, Luther insisted that it was “earnestness,” not the “external” elements of the rituals like the exorcisms and anointings, that was “required” for baptism to take place.333 Luther warned the faithful to approach the sacrament and their responsibilities to the child in baptism “in right faith.” Of course, in his early defenses of infant baptism, Luther appealed to the
faith of the parents, sponsors, and community as the faith necessary for the child’s baptism to be effective rather than the child’s faith. But by insisting that the godparents—who, by their identity as Christian, vow to raise the child as Christian—not only know the Lord’s Prayer in order to recite it with the priest, but that they also approach the sacrament with faith and earnestness, Luther connects knowledge of the Lord’s Prayer and earnest faith to Christian identity and, thus, effective participation in the baptismal liturgy. How the laity participated in the communion liturgy by means of the Lord’s Prayer, however, is not so clearly demonstrated in Luther’s liturgical reforms. Like those who would be godparents in baptism, Luther required that those who received the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper be able to recite the Lord’s Prayer. Yet there was no moment in Luther’s communion liturgies when the congregation was called to recite the Lord’s Prayer together. Instead, Luther’s Deutsche Messe calls for the minister to recite a paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer for the congregation to hear and consider as preparation (or caution) for reception of the sacrament.334 Luther Reed points out in his The Lutheran Liturgy, it could be argued that Martin Luther’s movement of the Lord’s Prayer to immediately after the sermon was his attempt at “revival of the Prayer of the Faithful” from early church practice, but he also would have been familiar with the analogous medieval practice of the Bidding of the Bedes or Prône, in which the minister listed the community’s petitions and asked the faithful to pray a silent Pater with those intentions in
Bard Thompson, Liturgies of the Western Church (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980), 132.
mind.335 While Luther was likely aware of this connection when he transferred the prayer, Luther saw the prayer’s function here not as intercessory or petitionary (as in the Bidding or Prone), but as an invitation to communion, a proclamation of Christ’s promises, a caution against unworthy reception, and, primarily, a public confession. The wording of the paraphrase, in addition to the fact that he was relocating the Lord’s Prayer from its location following the words of institution (and, moreover, preceding reception of the sacrament) to just preceding the communion rite, demonstrate this:336 Dear friends of Christ. Since we are here assembled, in the Name of the Lord to receive His holy Testament, I admonish you first of all to lift up your hearts to God and pray with me the Lord’s Prayer as Christ our Lord has taught us and has given us comfortable promise that it shall be heard: ['Our Father,' &c., in paraphrase]. Secondly, I admonish you in Christ, that ye take look upon the Testament of Christ: in the faith above all having confident assurance in your hearts the words by which Christ grants us His body and blood for forgiveness of sins. That ye remember and give thanks to his boundless love of which He gave proof when he redeemed us by His blood from God's wrath, sin, death, and hell, and take to yourselves externally the bread and wine, that is His body and blood, as your guarantee and pledge. In His name, therefore, and according to his command, let us proceed by the use of His own words to the observance and administration of the Testament.337 As Lutheran liturgical scholar Vilmos Vajta has noted, Luther understands the sursum corda to be an exhortation to worship and receive the sacrament in true faith.338 Luther
Luther D. Reed, The Lutheran Liturgy (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1947), 344.
WA 19:95, English translation from Thompson,132-133.
Vilmos Vajta, “Luther als Beter,” in Leben und Werk Martin Luthers von 1526 bis 1546, Helmar Junghans, ed., (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1983), 281.
himself explains that his paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer, spoken by the minister, functions as a public confession on behalf of the people.339 In his Formula Missae, however, the Lord’s Prayer remains in its previous place following the institution narrative. In the practice of most Lutheran churches, this appearance of the Lord’s Prayer was recited or intoned by the minister alone, while the congregation responded with “Amen.”340 Some church orders in southern Germany, however, allowed for congregational singing of the prayer after the consecration, while in other German Lutheran orders the congregation was directed to conclude the prayer with the liturgical doxology—“For thine is the kingdom…”—as well as the Amen.341 The Formula Missae retained the traditional introduction of the Lord’s Prayer as a prayer to be said as taught by Christ’s “saving precepts,” but cut the embolism and the fraction. The prayer was followed immediately by the Pax so that the reading of the Lord’s Prayer and the passing of the peace together functioned as “a public absolution of the sins of the communicants.”342 Although the placement of the Lord’s Prayer in the Formula Missae differed from the Deutsche Messe, the function of the prayer was essentially the same: as a proclamation of Christ’s promise of forgiveness of sins and of a pattern of Christian life that was congruent with eucharistic reception. Thus, the Lord’s Prayer retained an element of its function as a mark of Christian identity, even more emphasized by its
Luther Reed, The Lutheran Liturgy, 365.
The German Church Orders of Mark Brandenburg, Herzogin Elisabeth, Pomerania, Hoya, and Saxony all instructed the laity to recite the doxology; Ibid. 342
WA 12:223, translation from Thompson, 112.
connection to eucharistic reception. For Luther, reception of the Lord’s Supper, like praying the Lord’s Prayer, was at the same time a marker, a privilege, and even an obligation of Christian identity, as he explains in his Small Catechism: “Whoever does not seek or desire the Sacrament at least some four times a year, it is to be feared that he despises the Sacrament and is no Christian…”343 Of course, for Luther, it was not what one did but who one was—a baptized follower of Christ—that made one Christian. Yet the vocation of a baptized Christian was to participate in the worship and sacraments of Christ’s church, and Luther strove to foster that lay participation through his reforms. The primary way that Luther strove to ensure lay participation was through the translation of the liturgy into the vernacular (or, at least, the provision for a vernacular liturgy—Luther did not want to impose the requirement upon the German churches). Yet Luther did not prefer the vernacular for the vernacular’s sake—indeed, he wanted to retain liturgy in Latin for schools and universities—but for the sake of lay comprehension of the rites: like other reformers, Luther aimed for a liturgy that was intellectually comprehensible by its participants: “intelligibility in worship.”344 Nevertheless, Luther also valued liturgy’s mysterious quality, as Frank Senn has noted, he possessed “the sense that the reality being addressed in worship, or addressing the worshipers, is ‘beyond reason’ and can only be apprehended by faith.”345 Faith, particularly “earnest” faith, and intelligibility were the foundation of effective participation—participation that
WA 30 I:276-277, translation from Book of Concord, ed. Kolb, et al., 350.
Frank Senn, Christian Liturgy: Catholic and Evangelical (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997),
allowed the believer to enter into a dialogical, liturgical relationship with the divine—and Luther altered his liturgies to facilitate this sense of lay participation as divine encounter with the Word of God. Thus, Luther did not view the liturgy as merely an expression of faith, but as an instrument for expressing and growing in faith. Luther did not, however, view the liturgy as being “almost wholly educative” of the laity, as was suggested by Yngve Brilioth.346 Rather, Luther understood the liturgy to be an encounter with the divine through Word and sacrament, structured by the prayers and ritual forms for the sake of the faithful being “moved to faith and to a more earnest reverence.” 347 Indeed, unlike the Humanists, Luther understood the power of ritual for “awakening faith” in participants and forming their faith.348 He retained the dramatic Elevation of the Host, for example, because it “went well” with the Sanctus and “functioned as a sort of pictorial anamnesis,” though the practice was eventually dropped in the German churches.349 Therefore, Luther’s reforms of the liturgy—at least in terms of lay participation—were undertaken with the aim of improving lay participation and more effectively facilitating liturgical encounter with the divine. Through the lens of the Lord’s Prayer as a text of lay participation, I have demonstrated how Luther’s approach to lay participation combined all three models
Brilioth, Eucharistic Faith and Practice: Evangelical and Catholic, trans. A.G. Herbert (London: S.P.C.K., 1961, 120; cited in Thompson, Liturgies, 102. This view was also held by Gottschick, Luthers Anschauungen vom christlichen Gottesdienst und seine thatsaechliche Reform desselben (Freiburg: J.C.B. Mohr, 1887), 11ff. 347
WA 12:46-47, translation in Fisher, Christian Initiation, 6.
WA 6:516; LW 36:53-4.
Thompson, Western Liturgies 104.
of ritual participation: as preceded by faith, as educating and forming believers, and as a means of identification.
4.3 Lay Participation and the Lord’s Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer The re-ritualization of the Lord’s Prayer in the liturgical participation of the laity was also being worked out a generation later in the liturgical and sacramental reforms of the Church of England. Cranmer’s understanding of the centrality of lay participation in the liturgy is evident in his response to a group of rebellious laypeople in Devon who rejected his 1549 English liturgy, preferring the “mass in Latin, as was before, and celebrated by the priest, without any man or woman communicating with him.” Cranmer’s response lays out his rationale for a vernacular liturgy with dialogical prayers and responses: in the Latin Mass, the priest’s prayers and actions are done on behalf of and in the name of the people, to which they answered Amen. It stands to reason, Cranmer continued, that the people should not have the priest speaking for them, in their names, with their assent, without their understanding of his prayers or their assenting responses. Such an arrangement presents them as false before Christ, assenting in action but not in their hearts. “Had you rather be like pies or parrots, that be taught to speak, and yet understand not one word what they say, than be true Christian men, that pray unto God in heart and in faith?”350 Cranmer alleged. If the priest were their attorney before the king, he continued, they would surely prefer:
Thomas Cranmer, “Answer to the Fifteen Articles,” Miscellaneous Writings and Letters of Thomas Cranmer, ed. John Edmund Cox (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1846), 169.
…such one as should speak your own language, and speak so loud, that you might both hear him, and understand him; that you might allow or disallow that that he said in your names. Why do you then refuse to do the like unto God? When the priest desireth any thing of God for you, or giveth thanks for you, how can you in your heart confirm his sayings, when you know not one word that he saith? For the heart is not moved with words that be not understood.351 Cranmer’s 1549 and revised 1552 editions of the Book of Common Prayer corroborates his understanding of lay liturgical comprehension and response as necessary for the laity’s authentic ritual participation and for the sake of conversion. In the sacramental practice of the Church of England, like the Lutheran, the ecclesial statutes frequently required that a person demonstrate knowledge of the Lord’s Prayer—as well as the Creed and Ten Commandments—prior to his or her reception of the Lord’s Supper and before he or she would be allowed to serve as a godparent. In light of Cranmer’s baptismal rites, this requirement is sensible—the godparents and all present were directed to pray the prayer aloud together. The changing place of the Lord’s Prayer in the English baptismal rites, however, from the Sarum Rite to the 1549 Book of Common Prayer baptismal rite to the 1552 Book of Common Prayer baptismal rite, illustrates a development in the function of the Lord’s Prayer as a text of liturgical participation and the development of English Protestant thought on the efficacy of common prayer. In the Sarum Rite, the baptismal liturgy directs the priest to ask the godparents and all present to recite the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Creed, while the priest is
Cranmer, “Answer to the Fifteen Articles,” Miscellaneous Writings, ed. Cox, 170.
instructed to pray the same prayers simultaneously “that we maye so mynyster thys blessyd sacrament that yt maye be to the pleasure of almyghty god and confusyon of our gostly enmy and saluacyon of the sowle of thys chylde.”352 The priest also “gives” the infant the Sign of the Cross on the infant’s right hand, “that you may sign yourself and keep yourself from adversity and remain in the catholic faith and have eternal life for ever and ever.”353 These prayers, in addition to the Sign of the Cross, act as ritual signifiers of Christian identity, gifting the infant catechumen with the ritual knowledge necessary for future ritual participation. In the Church of England’s first baptismal liturgy, compared to this medieval approach to these baptismal and catechumenal prayers and actions, the catechumenal prayers, particularly the Lord’s Prayer, does not retain the ritual function as a signifier of Christian identity or a key to future ritual participation. [Brief prayer]…Wherfore we beyng thus perswaded of the good wyll of our heauenly father towarde these infantes, declared by his Sonne Jesus Christe, and nothyng doubtyng but that he fauourably alloweth this charitable worke of ours, in bringing these children to his holy baptisme: let us faithfully and deuoutly geue thankes unto him; and say the prayer which the Lorde himselfe taught. And in declaratyon of our faithe, let us also recite the articles contayned in our crede. Here the minister with the Godfathers, Godmothers, and people presente shall saye: Our father, etc.
A. Jefferies Collins, ed., Manuale ad usum Percelebris Ecclesie Sarisburiensis (Chichester, UK: Henry Bradshaw Society, 1960), 31. 353
Ibid., 30; English translation from E.C. Whitaker, ed., Documents of the Baptismal Liturgy (Collegeville: Pueblo, 2003), 292.
I believe in God the father, etc. [Priest] Almightie and euerlastyng God, heauenly father, we geue the humble thankes, that thou haste vouchesafed to call us to knowledge of thy grace, and fayth in thee: Increase and confyrm this fayth in us euermore: Geue thy holy spirite to these infantes, that they may be borne agayne, and be made heyres of euerlasting saluatyon, through our Lord Jesus Christ…354 In the baptismal rite of the 1549 Book of Common Prayer the minister, the godparents, and all present are instructed to pray the Lord’s Prayer (in thanksgiving) and the Creed (“in declaracion of our fayth”) prior to the baptismal interrogations, giving thanks to the Father for “that he favorably alloweth this charitable worke of ours” in baptizing the infant. Thus, the Lord’s Prayer of the traditio, the traditional marker of Christian identity, has, by the first incarnation of the Book of Common Prayer, become instead a prayer of thanksgiving for the impending baptism of the infant catechumen. It serves also in a petitionary way, thanking God in advance (and, implicitly, also asking) for the grace that is about to be imparted in the action of baptizing. Only the Creed, as a communal declaration of faith, retains an element of its original purpose and only the sign of the cross, as a “token that thou shalt not be ashamed to confesse thy faythe in Christe crucifyed,”355 retains its function as a ritual symbol of Christian membership. How does the Lord’s Prayer fare in the revised baptismal rite in the 1552 Book of Common Prayer in comparison?
“First Prayer-Book of Edward VI,” in The First and Second Prayer Books of Edward VI (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1957), 239. 355
[Prayer following baptism and the sign of the cross on the child’s forehead] Seeyng nowe, dearly beloued brethren, that these chyldren be regenerate and grafted into the bodye of Christes congregacion: lette us geue thankes unto God for these benefites, and with one accorde make our praiers unto almighty god, that they may leadr the rest of theyr lyfe according to the beginninge. Then shall be sayde: Our father which art in heaven… We yelde thee heartie thankes, most merciful father, that it hathe pleased thee to regenerate this infant with thy holy spirite, to receyue him for thy owne chylde by adopcion, and to incorporate him into thy holy congregacion…356 In the1552 Book of Common Prayer, the Lord’s Prayer was transferred to a position following the baptism proper, so that it came to introduce the thanksgiving after baptism. By 1552, the Lord’s Prayer’s function as an initiatory/catechetical prayer and a prayer of Christian identity has completely fallen away as the prebaptismal catechumenal prayer become a post-baptismal prayer of thanksgiving (joined after baptism, moreover, by the prebaptismal catechumenal signing of forehead and breast, as Johnson notes).357 The Lord’s Prayer had become, in the English baptismal liturgy, solely a prayer of thanksgiving for the act of baptism. Echoes of initiation and identification with the ecclesial body remain, however, as the Lord’s Prayer is construed as a prayer of thanksgiving for the neophyte’s baptismal adoption as God’s “own child” and into the “holy congregation.” 358 Strasbourg reformer Martin Bucer, whose own theology
“Second Prayer-Book of Edward VI,” in The First and Second Prayer Books of Edward VI (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1957), 398. 357
Maxwell Johnson, The Rites of Christian Initiation Their Evolution and Interpretation (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2007), 347. 358
“Second Prayer-Book,” 398.
occupied a sacramental middle-ground between Lutheran and Zwinglian positions and whose Censura influenced most of Cranmer’s 1552 reforms to the Book of Common Prayer, had this to say about the 1549 baptismal rite: On the Catechism of those who are to be baptized At this point the godfathers and godmothers are required to renounce the devil and make a confession of faith on behalf of the infants, in such a way that when the infants are asked whether they renounce the devil and his works, etc. and whether they believe in God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the godparents reply in place of the infants. But this practice, however ancient it may be, is not the teaching of the scripture, and there is no other reason existing in its own right why you should question one who does not understand what you say… It was the godly practice of the men of old time, and we ought to follow it today, that no adult was baptized unless after being questioned in this way he made his own reply from his own faith. But how is this to be applied to infants, who cannot yet understand or say anything? My hope is that all the questions of this catechism…[the prebaptismal handing over and return of the catechetical texts] might be put to the godfathers and godmothers, like this: Will you, for your part, give assurance that this infant when he is old enough shall learn the catechism of our religion, and when he has fully learned it shall renounce Satan and profess that he believes in God the Father, the Son, etc.? If such a change were acceptable at this point, the exhortation to the godfathers and godmothers which follows later in the service should be changed accordingly: for the exhortation is very holy and very necessary and ought not therefore be read carelessly by the ministers but commended to the godparents and impressed on them with the utmost gravity.359 In the mind of Bucer and Reformed theologians, there was no catechetical or pedagogical point to retaining the Lord’s Prayer as a prebaptismal prayer—the infant catechumen, after all, gained no catechetical benefit from its placement there. Rather, from the point of view of the prayer’s participatory purpose for the godparents and all witnesses, the 359
Martin Bucer, “The Censura,” in Martin Bucer and the Book of Common Prayer, ed. and trans. E.C. Whitaker (Great Wakering, UK: Mayhew-McCrimmon for the Alcuin Club, 1974), 94-96.
prayer functions better (in Bucer and Cranmer’s estimation) as a postbaptismal prayer of thanksgiving on the occasion of the child’s initiation into the church, expressed by those who have already been baptized and who can, now with the baptized child, truly call God “our Father”. For Bucer and Cranmer, there is no formative/instructional purpose to the Lord’s Prayer in the baptismal liturgy, but the prayer does function as a substantiation of the participants’ (sponsors and witnesses) informed faith. In the English baptismal liturgy, then, the Lord’s Prayer highlights the changing function of the godparents’ participation in the rite: not as catechumenal patrons whose own identification as members of the community allows them to sponsor the child’s initiation, but as witnesses to the infant’s initiation tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that he or she lives up to the obligations of Christian membership. The reforms of the communion liturgy likewise demonstrate a changing understanding of lay participation exemplified in the changing functions of the Lord’s Prayer. The communion rite of the 1549 Book of Common Prayer, like the Sarum Rite before it, directed the minister to pray the Lord’s Prayer alone after consecration, while the choir or deacon respond “But deliver us from evil.”360 The 1552 edition of the Book of Common Prayer, however, directs the minister to say the Lord’s Prayer with the people repeating each petition after him, but not in the traditional location after consecration and before the priest (and people) commune, but rather following the priest and people’s reception of the sacrament361 As in the 1552 baptismal liturgy, the Lord’s
“First Prayer-Book,” 223-224.
“Second Prayer-Book,” 389.
Prayer ceases to retain its original function—here in the eucharistic rite as a petitionary prayer for worthy eucharistic reception and as a devotional prayer in preparation for reception—and becomes a prayer of thanksgiving, giving thanks for receiving the sacrament: an after-the-fact petition that the sacrament, having been consumed, might incorporate the faithful into Christ’s mystical body. Here the congregational praying of the Lord’s Prayer seems to function, again, as a confirmation of theologically informed faith (in Christ’s eucharistic promises), and as a confirmation of identification with the community by means of participation in the sacrament. Unlike Luther’s precommunion paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer in the Deutsche Messe or the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer prior to reception in his Formula Missae, the Lord’s Prayer in the 1552 English communion rite does not serve to prepare participants for eucharistic reception, but serves instead as a reminder of what they have just received. As a post-communion prayer of thanksgiving, the Lord’s Prayer in the 1552 communion rite reaffirms, rather than declares, the Christian identity of those who commune, as it is eucharistic reception, not the Lord’s Prayer, which serves to ritually mark membership in the Body of Christ. Of course, the single most important innovation for lay participation in the Church of England was the eventual extension of the Book of Common Prayer—a liturgical book for clerical use and reference—to congregational use for liturgical participation. This extension obviously required increased literacy and generations of catechetical and liturgical formation before the majority of the laity could master the use of the specialized text, but the effect of such a movement was ritually revolutionary. The turn to the vernacular was, of course, central to the Protestant reformers’ agenda of intelligible liturgy and the (re)introduction of congregational response and song did much 171
to facilitate a sense of communal participation in worship. By extending the liturgical text itself to the laity, however, the English church authorities were able to achieve the Reformation ambition of forming the laity into theologically informed liturgical participants. Of course, these English participants were not only empowered to use the same texts as the minister himself, but also empowered—and here lies a complicating factor in the history of worship in the Church of England— to form theologically informed opinions and arguments regarding proper Christian worship.362 It is curious that, given each reformer’s emphasis on informed lay participation and approaching the rituals with earnest faith, neither Cranmer (in his 1549 Book of Common Prayer) nor Luther (in his Deutsche Messe for the simple people) included congregational recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. Why did neither reformer have the laity pray the Lord’s Prayer aloud together in the vernacular during the liturgy? Yet by the 1552 Book of Common Prayer and the later German Church Orders,363 congregational recitation of the prayer had become the norm. It may be that both reformers understood what a drastic leap it would have been for the simple people to worship according to the late medieval Catholic practice, then suddenly in the vernacular (as they did), and then at the same time expect vocal congregational response with the vernacular translation of a prayer that had been overwhelmingly memorized in Latin. The people would first need to be re-formed for liturgical participation according to the new, early modern
For a book-length discussion of the English people and their appropriation of the Book of Common Prayer during the reigns of Elizabeth and James, see Judith Maltby, Prayer Book and People in Elizabethan and Early Stuart England (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998). 363
Such as in Wittenberg in 1533; see Sehling I;1, 700.
understanding (theologically informed and intellectually comprehended) before they could hope to participate in congregational response. The first step was attuning them to participation through listening, a break from medieval participation through seeing, and instructing them on the liturgy and the sacraments. Then they had to learn to recite the Lord’s Prayer in their own tongue. Next, vernacular hymnody364 bridged the gap to congregational response: by singing the Lord’s Prayer, the people grew comfortable with collectively proclaiming the words of the prayer that Christ taught to his disciples in their own language. Instructed in the catechism and familiar with the rhythms of the new style of liturgical participation, laity were then, within a generation, more adequately formed for congregational response.
4.4 Lay Participation and the Lord’s Prayer in the Tridentine Liturgical Reforms The reformation of lay liturgical participation in the Roman Catholic Church was not so much a change in the liturgical role of the congregation, but a revolution in the expectations and catechetical obligations of the laity for the sake of participation. The Tridentine liturgical documents themselves demonstrate no major alterations, at least in regard to congregational participation, with the exception of the general Tridentine standardization of the liturgical documents. Beyond this newfound uniformity, however, the catechetical documents that flowed out of the Council demonstrate that the principal liturgical reform experienced by early modern Roman Catholic laypeople would have
See especially Christopher Boyd Brown, Singing the Gospel: Lutheran Hymns and the Success of the Reformation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005); Arand, 79-80.
been a revolutionary effort for increased lay instruction on the liturgy: in preparation for sacramental reception and for the sake of their participation in the rites. As early as the Canons of the Council of Cologne in 1536, clergy were admonished to instruct the laity regarding their obligations in baptism and the meanings of the rites and prayers of both the baptismal and the eucharistic liturgies that they might know what is expected of them and be instructed by the Mass.365 In 1562, the Canons of the Council of Trent insisted upon the clergy providing liturgical and sacramental instruction to the laity for the sake of their comprehension of the rites, as demonstrated in the Twenty-Second Session of the Council: Though the mass contains much instruction for the faithful, it has, nevertheless, not been deemed advisable by the Fathers that it should be celebrated everywhere in the vernacular tongue. Wherefore, the ancient rite of each church approved of by the holy Roman Church, the mother and mistress of all churches, being everywhere retained, that the sheep of Christ may not suffer hunger, or the little ones ask for bread and there be none to break unto them, the holy council commands pastors, and all who have the cura animarum, that they, either themselves or through others, explain frequently during the celebration of mass some of the things read during the mass, and that among other things they explain some mystery of this most holy sacrifice, especially on the Sundays and festival days.366 This statement from the Fathers of the Council was the result of no debate over the vernacular translation and celebration of the rites (the concept was rejected with only the
Robert I. Bradley, The Roman Catechism in the Catechetical Tradition of the Church: The Structure of the Roman Catechism as Illustrative of the "Classic Catechesis" (Boston: St, Paul Editions, 1985), 164, 249; Fisher, “The Council of Cologne of 1536,” Christian Initiation: The Reformation Tradition, 43-44. 366
Session Twenty-Two, Chapter VIII. Canons and Decrees of the Sacred and Œcumenical Council of Trent, ed. and trans. H.J.Schroeder, O.P., (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1941), 148.
observation by a lone bishop that the liturgy in Jerusalem was celebrated in a variety of languages) and no discussion over the nature of lay liturgical participation.367 The bishops agreed that the liturgy was formative and instructive for the faith of the laity and so came to insist upon the systematic catechetical instruction of laypeople, not the vernacular translation of the liturgy, for their improved comprehension the liturgy, that they might participate by that comprehension, and be effectively formed (or “instructed”) through that participation. Tridentine sacramental theology, affirming scholastic teaching, confirmed that the sacrifice of the Mass depended on the minister and his comprehension, not on the people, and that their sacramental participation was guaranteed not by their comprehension of the Mass texts, but by their presence and faith. 368
Nevertheless, the Council and the clerical handbook that followed it, The Catechism
of the Council of Trent, strongly encouraged clerical explanations of the liturgy in the vernacular for the sake of lay understanding: celebrations in Latin, explanations in the vernacular.369 Priests were instructed to explain the Mass to the laity “so that when they are assembled for its celebration, they may learn to contemplate its mystery with attention and devotion.”370 As liturgical historian Alcuin Reid has argued, in the decades following
John O’Malley, S.J., Trent: What Happened at the Council? (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013), 190. 368
Francoise Waquet, Latin: Or the Empire of a Sign: From the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Centuries, trans. John Howe (New York: Verso, 2001), 48. 369
Waquet, Latin, 49.
Catechismus Romanus seu Catechismus ex decreto Concilii Tridentini ad Parachos PII Quinti Pont. Max. Iussu Editus (Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1989), 280. Translation from John A. McHugh, O.P., and Charles J. Callan, O.P., trans., Catechism of the Council of Trent for Parish Priests (New York: Joseph F. Wagner, Inc., 1923), 254.
Trent numerous attempts were made on the part of inventive clergy to “facilitate… intelligent participation in the liturgy” on the part of the laity. 371 Charles Borromeo’s innovations in liturgy and catechesis (the altar rail, tabernacle, and programs for increased sacramental catechesis, for example) are perhaps the most lasting results of this early modern push for increased liturgical catechesis.372 The model of lay liturgical participation put forward by the Tridentine reformers seems to suggest a continuation of the medieval pattern of participation by means of identification with the worshipping community. With thorough liturgical instruction, the people may have understood themselves to be liturgical participants in a similar manner to what was suggested by late medieval authors and modern-day historians of late medieval lay participation—through identification with the Church and through their ceremonial identity. The baptismal rite, in which the priest directs the sponsors to recite the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer on the infant’s behalf, certainly seems to continue to treat the godparents as representatives from the community vouching, by merit of their identity, for the catechumen, and proclaiming the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed as symbolic of their membership. In the eucharistic liturgy, on the other hand, as laid out in the Missale Romanum, the Lord’s Prayer functioned as a prayer of access: access to the Father, who, the priest
Alcuin Reid, “In Pursuit of Participation—Liturgy and Liturgists in Early Modern and PostEnlightenment Catholicism,” in T&T Clark Companion to Liturgy, ed. Alcuin Reid (New York: Bloomsbury, 2015), 139. 372
Ibid. See also Keith P. Luria, “The Counter-Reformation and Popular Spirituality,” in Christian Spirituality: Post-Reformation to Modern, ed. Louis Dupré and Don E. Saliers (New York: Crossroad, 1989), 101-107, 114-118.
intones, we “make bold to” address as “Father”; access to eucharistic reception, which follows; and access to divine deliverance from evil, as the final petition requests. Of course, this function for the congregation was somewhat diminished by the fact that, as in the Middle Ages, the laity for the most part did not comprehend the priest’s recitation of the Pater Noster’s introduction, the prayer itself, and the embolism which followed in Latin. Furthermore, although the Missale Romanum directed all to respond “sed libera nos a malo. Amen,” to conclude the Pater Noster, in practice this congregational response was taken up by the altar server, the deacon, or the choir.373 Certainly the congregation could have silently prayed along with the choir or deacon’s responses, however, as they had been instructed in medieval mass books and catechisms.374 England’s Cardinal Reginald Pole embodies the early modern Catholic promotion of lay instruction and the value of the formative power of ritual participation in a speech given in London during the reign of Queen Mary: …the observation of ceremonyes, for obedyence sake, wyll gyve more light than all the readynge of Scrypture can doe, yf the reader have never so good a wytt to understand what he readythe, and thowgh he putt as muche dyligence in readynge as he can, with the contempte of ceremonyes: but the thinge that gyveth us the veraye light, ys none of them both; but they are most apte to receive light, that are more obedyent to follow ceremonyes, than to reade…375
Missale Romanum ex Decreto Sacrosancti Concilii Tridentini (Ratisbonae: Friderici Pustet, 1894), 250-251. 374
As discussed in Chapter Two.
Cardinal Reginald Pole, “Speech to the Citizens of London,” N LXVII in Ecclesiastical Memorials, John Strype, ed., vol. III, pt. II, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1822), 503; cited in Duffy, Stripping of the Altars, 531.
Scripture was surely valuable for instruction in the living out of the Christian faith in Pole’s estimation, but it could not replace the role of ritual in forming believers in the faith. Thus, lay participation in the Tridentine rites and liturgies, at least according to the liturgical texts themselves, was not much altered from the late medieval approach. It was the increased emphasis on clerical obligations regarding instruction of the laity and catechesis of children, however, that hints at an early modern approach to the Catholic Church’s ritual theory. The reforms of Trent “kept in place the late medieval structure of most rites,” explains Nathan Mitchell, while still making a “momentous change: …the Tridentine rites installed intelligibility—educated cognition—as key to lay liturgical participation (especially at Mass).”376 In the eyes of the Tridentine reformers, a principal function of lay participation in the Mass was for lay formation—for the Mass was admitted to “contain great instruction for the faithful”—and the laity’s access to that “great instruction” was only through intellectual comprehension of the liturgy. Thus where the Protestant reformers sought to increase lay education and make the liturgy accessible for laypeople—essentially leveling the field of liturgical participation— Catholic reformers hoped to improve lay participation by means of increased education and instruction alone. For Catholics and Protestants alike, however, this was a complete change from the medieval theory of ritual participation. As previously noted, Virginia Reinburg has explained how, “by insisting that lay congregants aspire to a reasonable level of informed participation, both Reformations together [Protestant and Catholic] 376
Nathan Mitchell, “Crossing the Visible” (The Amen Corner), Worship 19.6 (November 2005),
created a definitive rupture with the late medieval drama of the Mass, in which everyone had distinct but equally valuable and necessary parts to play.”377 Laypeople were no longer expected to rely on communal identification for fruitful and meaningful participation in the Catholic liturgy according to the Tridentine reforms, but were presented with new obligations of membership in the faith. It was the individual now, no longer the communion of the Church, who was responsible for effective participation and, moreover, personal identification with the Church. Ideally, even in the Catholic context, each believer relied upon his or her own formation, own understanding, own participation, for individual identification with Christ and with the community. The catechetical inclination of late medieval pastoralia, evidenced in the English primers and Mass books, attempted to provide the laity with the ritual keys to ritual participation: the prayers, actions, and interpretive frameworks to make sense of and see value in the actions of the priest at the altar. In early modern Catholicism, this pastoral drive combined with the Humanist individualist impulse to create a driving force in Tridentine Catholicism of systematic liturgical catechesis and intense personal devotion, with sometimes-radical results.378
Reinburg, “Liturgy and the Laity in Late Medieval and Reformation France,” Sixteenth Century Journal, 23.3 (Autumn 1992), 546. 378
The Catholic emphasis on thorough liturgical formation and fervent personal piety eventually gave rise to fascinating liturgical reform proposals by Jansenist and Jansenist-influenced bishops, such as in the 1786 Synod of Pistoia’s recommendation of vernacular liturgy. See Charles Bolton, Church Reform in 18th Century Italy: (The Synod of Pistoia, 1786) (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1969). Jansenist trends in Christian Initiation took on interesting patterns in early North American Jesuit missions, such as an intense formation and probationary period for Native American converts. See Nathan Chase, “Baptism into Death in the Jesuit Missions in New France,” Worship 88.5 (Sept 2014): 425-439.
While the Catholic reformers at Trent and the later decades of the sixteenth century did not reject the modes of liturgical and sacramental participation of the laity that had developed in the late Middle Ages, as their Protestant counterparts had, they were not immune to the need for re-ritualization in the sixteenth century brought about by Humanism and the turn to the individual. As Nathan Mitchell succinctly explains, “Trent conceded a major point of the ‘revolutionary’ ritual theory espoused by many Protestant reformers, viz., that cognition—intelligent understanding—is key to lay participation in the liturgy.”379 Where Protestant reformers came to the conclusion that the faith necessary for efficacious liturgical and sacramental participation must be an informed faith, Catholic reformers also alighted upon the necessity of more thorough and widespread religious education for the sake of comprehension of the rites and improved liturgical and sacramental participation. Faith did not necessarily have to precede participation in the Tridentine Catholic understanding of effective ritual, but theological instruction did. Informed participation was understood to be more effective at moving the believer to faith and achieving sacramental ideals (forgiveness of sins, communion with the Body of Christ, etc.) than uninformed, uncomprehending participation. As Nathan Mitchell explains: In short, the bishops saw the eucharist as a catechetical opportunity. Like other reformers of their time, they believed that educated (doctrinally informed) lay participation was the a basic [sic] source and goal of 'good (effective) liturgy.' So, in effect, Trent rejected the medieval consensus about ritual power; that is, it implicitly repudiated the notion that to participate in Mass and grasp its meanings is largely intuitive, sensual, and aesthetic rather
Mitchell, “Crossing the Visible,” 557.
than cognitive, rational and reflective… Both [Tridentine and Protestant reformers] fostered liturgical goals that came to be the hallmarks of modernism (especially in later liberal democracies)— comprehensive participation by well-informed, well-educated, well-catechized people who have a clear, cognitive grasp of public ritual.380 The Tridentine reformers agreed with the Protestant reformers on the nature of lay liturgical participation in as much as they prioritized the laity’s ritual participation by means of intellectual comprehension over communal identification or basic ritual proficiency. But they hoped to achieve this standard by means of increased education, not the translation of the liturgy into the vernacular. The Roman solution, then, was the elevation of the laity to levels of theological sophistication once reserved for the clergy alone. The Tridentine liturgy’s lack of official liturgical reform in spite of evidence for larger changes in the ways in which Catholic authorities understood ritual and participation may be partially explained by the insights from the methods of comparative liturgy. The liturgical scholar Anton Baumstark theorized that, as liturgies grew and developed throughout history, the process of evolution and reform favored the preservation of more ancient patterns of worship in the more solemn liturgical seasons and moments.381 The reforms—or lack of reforms—to the role of the laity in the liturgy of the Roman Rite at Trent can be understood analogously through the use of Baumstark’s theory. While the eucharistic liturgy and the laity’s participation in it
Anton Baumstark, Comparative Liturgy, ed. F.L. Cross (Westminster, MD: The Newman Press, 1958), 19-21.
according to the rubrics was not changed, there was a great deal of change in the supplementary aspects of the liturgy. Trent’s liturgical reforms were expressed instead in the aforementioned efforts for increased lay religious education, the recommendations that the laity be thoroughly instructed on the meaning of the Mass prayers and actions, and the immense efforts to reform and redirect lay piety and prayer to fit Tridentine ideals of theological soundness, sacramental orientation, and, most of all, ecclesial approval.382 The laity’s participation in the liturgy of Trent, however, was not purely intellectual. Trent’s reforms gave rise to the richness of Baroque liturgies (embellished with some of the most intricate and beautiful musical settings that Western European composers ever produced) and Baroque churches (stunning examples of the marriage of early modern architectural achievements and artistic innovation) came to typify the grandeur and sensuousness of the Roman Catholic sacramental imagination.383 The participation of the Catholic laity, contributing to and benefitting from the Baroque emphasis on the beauty of the divine as expressed in sacred art and experiencing unified and codified Tridentine liturgy, was re-ritualized in the sixteenth-century reforms of the Council of Trent. Ideally, in the eyes of the Catholic reforming authorities, the laity would benefit from the best of the medieval heritage and from the early modern
For two studies on the efforts and effects of Tridentine efforts of reforming lay devotional practices, see Marc Forster, The Counter-Reformation in the Villages: Religion and Reform in the Bishopric of Speyer, 1560-1720 (Cornell University Press, 1992), and Marc Forster, Catholic Revival in the Age of the Baroque: Religious Identity in Southwest Germany 1550-1750 (Cambridge University Press, 2001). 383
James F. White, Roman Catholic Worship: Trent to Today (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2003), 25-28.
catechetical innovation—formed by the experience of participating in the liturgy and well-prepared for participating in the liturgy though extensive catechesis. The success of such an approach has been a contested matter among Catholic liturgical reformers from at least the Synod of Pistoia to the Second Vatican Council, 384 and continues in some circles today.
4.5 Conclusion: Re-Ritualizing Lay Liturgical Participation In the sixteenth century, the Lord’s Prayer—the principal text of lay liturgical and sacramental participation in the Middle Ages—receded from its position of prominence back into the catechism, rejoining the Creed and accompanied by the Ten Commandments. As a text of participation, the Lord’s Prayer lost its identity as a text of communal identification for participation and became, instead, primarily a text of necessary religious knowledge required prior to participation in the prayers and sacraments of the Church. Yet Martin Luther and Thomas Cranmer’s liturgical and sacramental reforms still required that the laity know the Lord’s Prayer for the sake of sacramental reception and liturgical participation, as was also the practice in the Roman Catholic Church following the Tridentine reforms. Why, when the eucharistic service and the baptismal rite were translated into the vernacular, when the prayers of the service were rendered intelligible, when the congregation was encouraged to respond in dialogue and participate in song, did the Protestant reformers still insist that the laity know well and be able to recite the Lord’s Prayer for the sake of their participation? At this point,
all were expected to participate in ways that did not involve the Lord’s Prayer. Yet the Lord’s Prayer remained, for Protestants and Catholics alike, a text central to Christian identity, a framework upon which further religious instruction could build, and the most effective means of forming believers for meaningful liturgical and sacramental participation. The Lord’s Prayer was not, however, simply demoted to mere didactic religious instruction by the Catholic and Protestant reformers of the sixteenth century: it was still the primary text for liturgical participation, albeit in a transformed setting. The Protestant reformers’ insistence upon lay participation through individual intellectual comprehension of the liturgy and vocal response undid much of the Patristic and medieval understanding of participation by means of communal identification, as well as negating the Our Father’s function as a text of communal identification. This insistence influenced some strains of early modern Catholic practice as well. But as liturgical participation became the obligation of the individual believer, the Lord’s Prayer took on a primarily devotional role as the believer’s solace, the model of faith and prayer upon which one could pattern oneself, the devotional training ground for the liturgical participant. The Lord’s Prayer gradually ceased to be the text of liturgical participation and developed, instead, into a text of liturgical devotion, an instrument for forming liturgical participation. The fifth chapter of this dissertation will turn to this function of the Lord’s Prayer: as a guide to prayer and instrument for formation in prayer.
CHAPTER 5: TEACHING HOW TO PRAY: RE-RITUALIZING LAY PRAYER BY MEANS OF THE LORD’S PRAYER
Like the scholarly discussions of lay catechesis and lay liturgical participation in the sixteenth century, modern historical and liturgical treatments of the reforms of lay prayer in the sixteenth century had, for much of the twentieth century, sympathized with the Protestant critique of late medieval piety. Gregory Dix, for example, bluntly criticized the private prayers of the laity during the eucharistic liturgy of the Middle Ages as individualistic.385 In the past thirty years, however, social and religious historians have begun to look at laypeople’s prayers prior to the Reformation in a new light, considering the prayers and devotional lives of late medieval laypeople on their own terms. Given the considerable diversity of late medieval piety and the many shapes that reforms of prayer took even within the particular Reformation churches, recent scholars have taken a variety of approaches to the texts and traditions comprising the reforms of lay prayer in the sixteenth century. Where Eamon Duffy has worked to challenge the modern scholarly critique of late medieval lay piety as an inheritance of early modern Protestant
Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy (London: Dacre Press, 1945), 594-608.
polemical criticisms,386 Virginia Reinburg takes up a similar revisionist tone while also considering the theological concerns of the devotional reforms taken by Catholic and Protestant reformers.387 John Bossy’s most detailed consideration of lay prayer practices was focused upon late medieval piety, where he infamously characterized lay prayers as little more than “sanctified whingeing.”388 Looking to private prayer during the Reformation, Alec Ryrie has provided students of Reformation prayer with perhaps the most thorough study of British Protestant prayer and spirituality yet with his Being Protestant in Reformation Britain, which considers the prayer lives of British Protestants widely defined, from puritan to conforming, from the 1540s to 1640.389 In terms of specific prayers and practices, Kenneth Stevenson has considered the role of the Lord’s Prayer in Catholic and Protestant devotional reforms and spiritual treatises in both his historical survey of the prayer throughout Christian history and in his work on Richard Hooker and the Lord’s Prayer.390 Turning to the Roman Catholic side, first Anne
See Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580, 2nd ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992) and Duffy, Marking the Hours: English People and their Prayers (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006). 387
See Virginia Reinburg, “Hearing Lay People’s Prayer,” in Culture and Identity in Early Modern Europe (1500-1800): Essays in Honor of Natalie Zemon Davis, eds. Barbara Diefendorf and Carla Hesse (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993), 19-39. 388
John Bossy, “Christian Life in the Later Middle Ages: Prayers,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 6.1 (1991): 148. For Virginia Reinburg’s response, see below. See also Eamon Duffy’s critique in Eamon Duffy, “Chapter 6: Sanctified Whingeing?” in Marking the Hours: English People and their Prayers 1240-1570 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006. 389
Alec Ryrie, Being Protestant in Reformation Britain (New York: Oxford University Press,
Kenneth Stevenson, The Lord’s Prayer: A Text in Tradition (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004); Kenneth Stevenson, “Richard Hooker and the Lord’s Prayer: A Chapter in Reformation Controversy,” Scottish Journal of Theology 57.1 (2004): 39-55.
Winston-Allen, and later Nathan Mitchell, have discussed the place of the Rosary in the reformation, or, rather, the reinvention, of Catholic piety in the early modern period.391 Keith Luria and Marc Forster have both published extensively on the Tridentine reforms’ effects upon popular Catholicism, frequently touching upon reforms of practices of prayer.392 Yet no liturgical scholars, with the exception of Nathan Mitchell, have treated reforms to lay prayer in its relationship to the larger liturgical reforms undertaken by Protestant and Catholic reformers alike. While each of the aforementioned approaches to devotional reform bring to light in their respective ways the role of the reform of prayer in the larger liturgical reforms of the period, this chapter intends to consider the topic in another manner: examining the re-ritualizations of lay prayer patterns by means of the Lord’s Prayer, in sixteenth-century Protestant and Catholic reforms. First, a discussion of terminology. Twentieth-century scholars such as Gregory Dix have used such terms as “private prayer” and “popular prayer” in a disapproving manner, either as a inferior contrast to common prayer or a vulgarization of elite monastic prayer. The well-known and widespread prayer texts and prayer practices of lay people can be understood as “popular prayer.” I do not here intend to implicitly contrast it with “learned” or “elite” prayer, or to create a hierarchy between the prayers of
Anne Winston-Allen, Stories of the Rose: The Making of the Rosary in the Middle Ages (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997); Nathan Mitchell, The Mystery of the Rosary: Marian Devotion and the Reinvention of Catholicism (New York: NYU Press, 2009). 392
See Keith P. Luria, Territories of Grace: Cultural Change in the Seventeenth-Century Diocese of Grenoble (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991); idem., Sacred Boundaries: Religious Coexistence and Conflict in Early-Modern France (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2005); and Marc Forster, The Counter-Reformation in the Villages: Religion and Reform in the Bishopric of Speyer, 1560-1720 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992); idem., Catholic Revival in the Age of the Baroque: Religious Identity in Southwest Germany, 1550–1750 (Cambrdige: Cambridge University Press, 2001).
the clergy and the prayers of the people. I am simply referring to the models of prayer that were recommended for the average layperson, as well as the popular prayers and patterns of praying that laypeople (as well as clergy) frequently utilized in their personal prayer lives.393 Distinctions such as private, personal, and devotional prayer are also imprecise, as these private prayers may be prayed in groups and these devotions may be prayed during the liturgy, but they are, generally speaking, undertaken by individuals, in their personal practices of prayer, outside the church’s liturgy. Other distinctions have been put forward to categorize lay prayer: John Bossy characterized late medieval lay prayer as either social or devotional, based on the relationality of the prayers: are they more concerned with the group or with the individual? For Bossy, the Lord’s Prayer is essentially social, whereas the Hail Mary is more devotional.394 Bossy was trying to rewrite Gregory Dix’s assessment of late medieval piety as increasingly “individualistic” by the early sixteenth century. He concluded, however, that the liturgical prayer of laypeople—particularly their prayers at the elevation—better embodied the true spirit of Christian prayer in its social orientation than extra-liturgical prayer.395 Reinburg, in her response to Bossy, is rightly critical of the tendency for historians such as Bossy to categorize lay prayer along a spectrum, especially according to the scholar’s particular
For a discussion of the issue, see Leonard E. Boyle, “Popular Piety in the Middle Ages: What is Popular?” Florilegium 4 (1982): 184-193. 394
Bossy, “Prayers,” 138.
Bossy seems to have unintentionally subscribed to the same preference for common prayer evidenced in the Homilies of the Church of England, valuing liturgical common prayer over private prayer.
implicit theological ideal: be it “organic” prayer, “individualistic” prayer, “popular” prayer, or “social” and “me” prayers.396 This chapter will consider private prayer: that is, prayer undertaken by the individual, alone or in a group setting, outside of the official liturgy. Therefore, I will use such terms as “individual,” “private,” or “devotional” prayer simply to differentiate it from liturgical, common, public prayer. Despite being private, however, these forms of prayer were not unregulated. As we will see, medieval pastoral authors and sixteenthcentury Catholic and Protestant reformers alike wanted their congregations to pray according to particular patterns of prayer, to pray in certain, specified ways. While it could be argued that the sixteenth-century reformers recommended set prayer patterns for the sake of re-forming the laity according to the new models of lay Christianity and in order to ensure confessional conformity, late medieval pastoral literature also prescribed particular prayer patterns without the pressure of confessionalization. A consideration of medieval devotional formation will follow the devotional recommendations of medieval pastors, revealing their concerns about forming the faithful in prayer. As with religious formation and liturgical participation, the discussion of these questions and of the reforms of prayer will concentrate upon the Lord’s Prayer, as it provides us with a focused lens through which to consider these reforms as attempts to re-ritualize patterns of private prayer.
Virginia Reinburg, “Notes on John Bossy, ‘Prayers,’” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 6.1 (1991): 150.
5.1 The Lord’s Prayer in Medieval Lay Prayer Patterns To begin, I will consider the late medieval patterns of prayer advocated by Catholic authorities and how they utilized the Lord’s Prayer as a means of instructing the laity in the methods and manners of prayer. Medieval patterns of prayer involving the Lord’s Prayer could be found in Psalters, Books of Hours, and primers. However, the Lord’s Prayer was also used in patterns of prayer not set down in books and, therefore, not confined to use by those who could read and could afford an expensive Book of Hours. These oral patterns of prayer (in that they were not tied to a book) were perhaps the most popular method of private prayer for late medieval laypeople, most notably taking the form of simplified reproductions of monastic prayer for the sake of inexpert lay participation. The Rosary is undoubtedly the most famous example of this, having origins in the imitation of the Psalter: one hundred and fifty Aves in the place of the one hundred and fifty psalms that men and women religious worked their way through in their regular recitation of the monastic Daily Office. The Rosary was based upon an earlier pattern of prayer in imitation of monastic prayer: Paternoster beads, strung with one hundred and fifty beads, for the recitation of a sequence of one hundred and fifty Pater Nosters according to the same psalmic pattern. Paternoster beads date to as least 1277, when the concept was first recorded in a workshop for their manufacture was set up in London.397 Before 1300 there is no evidence for the use of paternoster beads or Rosaries for meditative prayer practices, such as the life of Christ meditations that marked the
Winston-Allen, Stories of the Rose, 112.
popularization of the Rosary in the early modern era. This manner of praying the Rosary—one hundred and fifty Aves, interspersed with Pater Nosters, Gloria Patri, and the Creed, sequenced around distinct episodes from the life of Christ for prayerful contemplation—grew in popularity during the fifteenth century, drawing upon the popularity of the devotio moderna movement and the popularity of meditations upon the life and passion of Christ characterizing imitatio Christi piety.398 This way of praying the Rosary was not widely popularized, however, until after the Council of Trent, as postTridentine reformers and pastoral writers held up the Rosary as an ideal form of lay prayer that embodied the principles of Trent’s devotional reforms.399 Late medieval laypeople were taught to pray according to these patterns and according to the catechetical prayers as discussed in Chapter Two. Praying well according to these patterns, however, was more complicated, as there were a number of approaches to what it meant to pray well. According to some authors, simply reciting the words properly was enough to ensure that the prayer was validly prayed. A sense of devotional legalism had pervaded by the fifteenth century; this approach to prayer efficacy borrowed from a sacramental legalism that was present in some schools of scholastic theology. Prayer was ensured to be effective, according to some late medieval authors such as Jean Gerson, if the one praying followed precisely the text of the prayer. “Simple unlettered people” who recite “prayers they don’t understand” still effectively give praise and thanks to God in those prayers through the “holy and sacred words
Winston-Allen, Stories of the Rose, 16, 26-27.
Nathan Mitchell’s The Mystery of the Rosary explores this Early Modern Catholic reform tactic
revealed by the prophets and other saints.”400 It followed, further, that if accurately reciting the prayer guaranteed ritual efficacy, then frequently reciting the prayer would multiply the effects. 401 Thus simply reciting the words of the Lord’s Prayer properly in Latin and repeating the prayer was seen as a valid and effective way to pray, due to both the ritual power of the words and the holy knowledge and even patronage of the Church and the saints. For other medieval thinkers, however, adequate comprehension of the words of the prayers, and not just accurate recitation of them, was the performative key to praying well. Beginning with Carolingian reforms, pastoral writers encouraged priests to explain the words and meaning of the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer to their audiences in the vernacular for the sake of their comprehension and to aid them in praying devoutly and effectively.402 Medieval episcopal mandates and diocesan and conciliar statutes, beginning in the ninth century and continuing into the thirteenth century and beyond, all call for and frequently require that parish priests instruct the faithful in the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer in Latin and the vernacular. The intention was that laypeople not only be able to recite the prayers but that they might also understand the petitions and theological content of these texts. A small sampling of such declarations ranges from the Council of
Jean Gerson, “La medicité spirituelle” (c. 1401), in Œvres completes, ed. P. Glorieux, vol. VII (Paris: Desclée, 1960), 238-240. Cited in Reinburg, French Books, 89. Translation Reinburg’s. 401
Thomas A. Lambert, “Preaching, Praying, and Policing the Reform in Sixteenth-Century Geneva” (PhD diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1998), 398. Also discussed in Richard C. Trexler, The Christian at Prayer: An Illustrated Prayer Manual Attributed to Peter the Chanter, (Binghamton, NY: Medieval and Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1987), 29-33. 402
See Paul Robinson, “‘Lord, Teach Us to Pray: Preaching the Pater Noster in Germany and Austria, 1100-1500” (PhD diss., University of Chicago: 2001), 210.
Mayence in 813, to the writings of Theodulf, Bishop of Orleans (c. 798-818), to the capitula of Hatton, Bishop of Bale (roughly contemporary), on to the Council of Westminster (1200), the Statutes of Stephen Langdon, Archbishop of Canterbury (12131214), the Statutes of Sisteron (1249) and those of Urtrecht (1294).403 Nevertheless, it seems that the people still came to learn the prayer in the same Latin of the liturgy and preferred to pray it that way.404 Yet even with these pastoral guides for clergy and efforts at diocesan regulations for lay religious education, it seems that large numbers of late medieval laypeople were not only unable to learn how to pray the Lord’s Prayer well according to these patterns, but many simply could not pray the Lord’s Prayer at all. In the thirteenth century Jacques de Vitry expressed his horror at meeting adult Christians who did not know the words to the Pater Noster, the Ave Maria, or the Creed, or who could only recite the first two lines of the Pater Noster. 405 The situation had hardly improved two centuries later when Jean Gerson lamented the state of religious instruction of children, which then resulted in adults who barely knew their catechetical prayers: “With so many parents and teachers there is either no care at all for the instruction and moral training [of] their children, or
See Prier au Moyen Age: Pratiques et expérienes (Ve-XVe siècles): Textes, Traduits, et Commentés, ed. Nicole Bériou, Jacques Berlioz, and Jean Longère (Turnhout: Brepols, 1991), 170-172. 404
Lambert, “Preaching, Praying, Policing,” 400-401; Jean-Claude Schmitt, “Du Bon usage du ‘Credo’,” in Faire Croire: modalities de la diffusion et de la reception des messages religieux du XXIe au XVe siècle, ed. André Vauchez et al., (Rome, 1981), 349-352; Jacques Toussart, Le sentiment religieux en Flandres àla fin du Moyen Age (Paris: 1960), 346ff. 405
Lambert, “Preaching, Praying, Policing,” 401; from Jacques de Vitry, Sermo 73 “Ad pueros et adolescentes,” in Analecta Spicilegii Solemensis Altera Continuatio, vol. 2, ed. Pitra (Typis Tusculanis, 1888), 439; translated in John Shinners, Medieval Popular Religion, 1000-1500: A Reader (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 1997), 29.
else it is the last thing thought of.”406 Gerson’s catechetical initiative to counteract the faithful’s general apathy to learning the basic prayers, his ABC des Simples Gens, set out the traditional texts of the catechism—the Creed, vices and virtues, Lord’s Prayer, Ave Maria, Decalogue, Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Sacraments, Beatitudes, and so forth—all laid out in French for his audience of simple folk. Moreover, in his introduction, Gerson prioritizes the Lord’s Prayer as the first and most important prayer in his list, as the prayer “that God composed with his own mouth.”407 According to the recommendations of medieval pastoral reformers, in order to pray well Christians must first have attained the ability to recite the words of the prayer properly, in either Latin or in the vernacular, and then they must have understood the words that they prayed. Beyond these minimal norms, however, there was also an ongoing concern that the believer’s prayer should be “heartfelt”: that his or her sincere belief and affection should be expressed in action as well as prayer. Paul Robinson notes in his dissertation on medieval German preaching of the Lord’s Prayer that three themes recurred in the corpus of medieval Pater Noster sermons: preachers repeatedly demonstrated concern that the laity pray the proper words aloud, comprehend the words, and be properly disposed to prayer.408 To this end, preachers advocated practices of
Robert I. Bradley, The Roman Catechism in the Catechetical Tradition of the Church: The Structure of the Roman Catechism as Illustrative of the “Classic Catechesis” (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1990), 111. 407
Jean Gerson, “A.B.C. des Simples Gens,” Jean Gerson: Oeuvres Complètes, vol. VII, edited by Mgr. Glorieux (Paris: Desclèe & Cie, 1966), 154-155. 408
Robinson, “Preaching the Pater Noster,” 211.
prayer that would serve to ritually engage “the heart as well as the mouth.”409 There was a real worry that the hearts and mouths of those praying were not aligned—that is, that those who prayed were literally giving mere lip service to their prayers. Their concern was that this manner of prayer characterized as careless and insincere was not only ritually ineffective, but that it also displeased God and threatened to incur his wrath. To aid in conforming the lips with the heart, or the exterior expressions of faith with interior affect, then, prayer manuals recommended a number of bodily positions and postures, “from standing with the hands joined above the head or out like a cross, to kneeling, to full prostration,”410 which were thought to aid in aligning heart with mouth, body with soul, exterior with interior. Bodily posture was not the only means of devotional alignment of interior and exterior: there were also devotional practices that emphasized aligning one’s imagination and emotions with the intention of the prayer being recited. In one late medieval image, for example, we see the example of “good” and “bad” prayer depicted in visual allegory. Those who looked upon the image, painted on chapel walls and found in prayer book manuscripts, were instructed in two modes of prayer: good prayer, where the devotee’s attention is focused upon higher, spiritual things; and bad prayer, where the one praying has more worldly concerns in mind. Art historian Achim Timmermann describes the image as found in fifteenth century murals in more detail: In most of the forty or so known examples, a pious, poor man and a distracted, rich man, both in attitudes of prayer, face one another on either side of the suffering Christ, shown either crucified or as
Lambert, “Preaching, Praying, Policing,” 396.
Lambert, “Preaching, Praying, Policing,” 397. Discussed also in Trexler, Christian at Prayer,
the Man of sorrows. A key feature of the image are the bundles of thought—or prayer—lines that indicate and link both men to the respective objects of their innermost ruminations—the wounds of Christ in the case of the pious individual, and an inventory of worldly possessions, often displayed within a tall, multi-storied building, in the case of his wealthy counterpart. The Good and the Bad Prayer imaginatively translates into visual language a prominent passage from the sermon of the mount (Matthew 6:19– 24), in which Christ admonishes his audience to collect heavenly over worldly treasures—or face the consequences. 411 The lesson, that external devotion was meritorious only inasmuch as it mirrored interior piety, demonstrates the pastoral concern for improving lay spirituality by means of lay prayer by the fifteenth century. Another approach taken by late medieval devotional literature was to try to elicit a particular emotional response in devotees. Late medieval meditative prayer was highly emotional and frequently involved the explicit goal of provoking feelings of deep sorrow for sin or passionate desire for communion with Christ. These emotions were roused for the sake of moving the devotee through affective movements, such as a cycle of repentance for sin or a pattern meant to move the heart toward deeper love of God.412 These patterns of prayer often employed visual meditation upon devotional images, printed or painted in a prayer book or found in the church, or mental meditation upon dramatic moments in the Gospels, the life and passion of Christ, or in salvation history.413
Achim Timmermann, “Good and Bad Prayers, Before Albertus Pictor: Prolegomena to the History of a Late Medieval Image,” Baltic Journal of Art History (2013:5): 131-132. 412
For an example of the penitential use of prayer books, see Dietrich Kolde, Ein fruchtbar Spiegel oder handbüchen der Christenmenschen,in Katholische Katechismen des sechzehten Jarhrhunderts in deustcher Sprache, ed. and trans. Christoph Moufang (Mainz: F. Kirchheim, 1881) i-l . For a discussion of the devotional uses, see Duffy, “Chapter 7: The Devotions of the Primers,” The Stripping of the Altars, 233-265. 413
See Duffy, “Chapter 7: The Devotions of the Primers,” The Stripping of the Altars, 233-265.
Even though practices of meditative prayer usually utilized visual images rather than texts, they also included instructions for the devotee to pray and meditate upon the literary images present within particular prayer texts. Meditations upon visual images or devotional concepts were often utilized in popular patterns of meditative prayer; monastic prayer, by contrast, encouraged meditation upon the literary themes present within the texts themselves, such as the psalms. This monastic approach obviously exploited the abilities of those praying to comprehend Latin. This approach of meditating upon the themes explicated in the prayer texts, of comprehending and ruminating upon the words’ meaning, was a pattern of prayer that many preachers preferred. Sermons on the Lord’s Prayer, at least in high and late medieval Germany and Austria, privileged the monastic manner of prayer: contemplation of the prayer while engaged in the practice of praying. Each preacher that Robinson studied “apparently refused to advocate some common lay prayer practices.” Indeed, none recommended repetitions of the Pater Noster and some discouraged popular patterns of prayer: …the only mention of the rosary is the criticism of those who clatter their beads and think they are praying. In spite of the fact that repetitions of the prayer were frequently recommended for those who could not pray through the Psalter, something more seems to have been expected by those charged with preaching on the prayer. …the preachers saw themselves as encouraging and forming a specific practice of prayer—rooted in the proper order of words, person, and thought—to the end of improving the pray-er rather than simply reciting a prayer.414 The aim of praying, in this understanding, was to form the devotee as much as it was to gain a spiritual or worldly reward.
Robinson, “Preaching the Pater Noster,” p. 240.
The people’s preferences for certain prayers, moreover, reveal their motivations and implicit understandings of prayer. According to the most popular late medieval primers and prayer books, as noted by Eamon Duffy, late medieval laypeople clearly preferred particular prayer texts and patterns. If a personal prayer book lacked a popular prayer, or if the devotee found a new favorite, it was simply added by hand. The countless prayers and prayer rituals that crowded the early sixteenth century popular printed prayer books could be seen as indicative of the late medieval laity’s preference for a variety of prayers for all occasions, not just prayers that expressed their personal spiritual practices. As Duffy explains: The voice of lay prayer in the late Middle Ages is essentially ventriloqual. By and large, medieval people did not speak for themselves when they prayed. They articulated their hopes and fears, however deeply felt, in the borrowed words of others, which they made their own in the act of recitation. …the manuscript additions to so many of the surviving Books of Hours show a magpie tendency to seize on good prayers wherever they might be found.415 So when a layperson came across a new prayer that seemed to bear ecclesial or spiritual authority (such as prayers attributed to powerful patron saints) or the guarantee of spiritual power (such as indulgenced prayers), there was an ingrained impulse to appropriate the text for his or her own personal spiritual practice, should the need for such a prayer arise. Duffy explains the compulsion with colorful analogies: “a good prayer was more like a well-tested cookery recipe than an eloquent poem which exactly or profoundly articulated one’s deepest feelings.”416 Implicit in this “magpie tendency”
Duffy, Marking the Hours, 104.
Duffy, Marking the Hours, 104-105.
for seeking out the best prayers, moreover, is a valuation of prayers according not to their authentic expression of personal affect, but according to their ritual power and practical use, such as apotropaic potency. As we will see, the popularity of certain set prayer texts did not wane in the sixteenth century, whether in Catholic, the Lutheran, English Protestant, or Reformed veins. The private use of published prayer texts, however, underwent a transformation in the Reformation context: beloved prayers in Protestant prayer books prioritized affect, but Tridentine Catholic prayer books frequently preferred to present recommended prayers either as authentically expressing particular emotions or as potent prayers of saintly intercession. The apotropaic element was less frequently used in clerically-composed Catholic prayer books. Set patterns of daily prayer were also important in the formation of medieval lay devotion. Diocesan and synodal documents that legislated the clerical obligations of instructing the laity in the catechetical prayers also frequently recommended patterns of daily prayer for laypeople. Theodulf, Bishop of Orleans, endorsed morning and evening recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and Creed (or, at least once a day, at the bare minimum): “One must know that the one who can should do more every day, praying at least twice, i.e., in the morning and evening, saying the Symbol (Creed) and the Lord’s Prayer…”417 The text of the Lord’s Prayer could only effectively form the faithful if they made a habit of praying it, and it was the task of the parish priest to instill the performance of this prayer and these patterns in the faithful.
Theodulf of Orlean, Capitula episcoporum, vol. 1. can. 22 in Monumenta Germaniae historica (Hannoverae : Impensis Bibliopolii Aulici Hahniani, 1845), 120; Prier au Moyen Age, 171.
This leads us to one aspect of late medieval instruction and formation in prayer that is easily overlooked: the necessity of a parish priest as the means of the transmission of this prayer knowledge. The constant call, from the Carolingian reforms onward, that parish priests instruct their parishioners in the proper ways to pray is evidence that the hierarchy certainly understood the parish priest to be the main medium of transmission for this body of religious knowledge and ritual practice. Even with the proliferation of small catechisms in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and printed catechisms in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, it is clear that the priest still held a central role in the transmission of this knowledge. As Robert Bradley explains in his history of the Roman Catechism: “for of themselves these mere [catechism] booklets were but resumes of doctrine and piety. The role of the parish priest was, therefore, essential to ‘the catechism’.”418 Most of these catechisms were not intended for lay use, but for clerical use for the sake of lay instruction. Even literate laypeople with access to these prayer texts ideally would have been instructed by their parish priests in the proper manner of performing them. Books of Hours, as opposed to catechisms, may have been “remarkably free from any form of clerical supervision” in their publication and private use, and they may have been used for a variety of “diverse personal tastes and religious concerns,” as Virginia Reinburg has noted .419 There still remained, however, the fact of clerical mediation of these texts and practices, if not outright clerical supervision, in the texts’ composition, their promises of indulgence, the ways in which laypeople were taught to
Robert Bradley, Roman Catechism in the Catechetical Tradition of the Church, 86.
Virginia Reinburg, “Hearing Lay People’s Prayer,” 21.
use them, or the monastic patterns of prayer which they mimicked. This also applied to illiterate Christians who had acquired their knowledge of the prayers of the catechism through memorization: they still needed the expert guidance by an expert prayer practitioner, ideally their parish priest, as to how to best employ these texts in their habits of personal prayer. The Lord’s Prayer, then, although the birthright prayer of all the baptized, could only be prayed well—that is, with ritual success—according to ecclesial standards if one was instructed in its proper devotional use by a priest, the local church’s ritual authority. At the same time that diocesan and conciliar reforms were mandating that pastors take the time to instruct their flock in the texts and practices of private prayer, there was a movement within monastic circles of the twelfth century to ensure liturgical and devotional sincerity in the daily prayers of the monastic community. 420 There was a worry that those performing the prayers of the Liturgy of the Hours, the Daily Office, did not mean the prayers that they prayed. What, then, was the point of a life punctuated by prayer if the prayers were sung without any interior connection to them? Although this movement was primarily concerned with the monastic and clerical context, no doubt much of the pastoral advice for laypeople on sincere prayer and methods of praying with authentic intent and emotion drew from these reforms. Nevertheless, given the increasing expectations of theological knowledge and liturgical participation and proficiency in the sixteenth century, it seems that this is indicative of a pattern of extending the high
Giles Constable, “The Concern for Sincerity and Understanding in Liturgical Prayer, Especially in the Twelfth Century,” Culture and Spirituality in Medieval Europe (Brookfield, VT: Variorum, 1996), Article 12, 17-18.
expectations of clerical prayer to lay private prayer as well. This example of monastic reform of prayer practices may have been the forerunner of the sixteenth century call for sincerity of prayer for laypeople. By the sixteenth century, lay Christians were expected—and, frequently, were asking for the ability—to pray like monks, in addition to the clergy’s expectation of a higher level of basic theological knowledge for the laity421 and their increased liturgical participation.422 In conclusion, late medieval instruction on lay prayer tended to recommend set prayers and set patterns of prayer, such as the Lord’s Prayer and Paternoster beads or the Rosary. Most popular patterns of private lay prayer, such as the use of Books of Hours and the Rosary, moreover, were lay imitations of monastic patterns of daily prayer. Most medieval preachers, as we saw in Chapter Two, promoted the Lord’s Prayer as the ideal text for prayer, as well as the ideal pattern for prayer. There were concerns not only that people did not know the text to the prayer—which would result in ineffective prayer— but that they might not understand the meaning behind the words or that they might pray without conforming to the petitionary intent or affective impulse behind the prayer, resulting in empty devotion with no spiritual benefit. Parish priests were then called upon to instruct their parishioners in the texts and meanings of their prayers, especially the Pater Noster, and to teach them how and when to pray. As the first two decades of the sixteenth century passed, however, priests tasked with teaching the laity grew dissatisfied with the ways in which the faithful were being
See Chapter Three.
See Chapter Four.
taught how to pray and, like Jacques de Vitry three centuries earlier, were horrified at how few of the faithful could even pray the Lord’s Prayer. Shortly after the first evangelical reforms began, Martin Luther and fellow reformers began reimagining devotional prayer books according to their evangelical commitments for use among the laity. Some, like Luther’s Betbüchlein, were published with the explicit intent of replacing the Books of Hours for the sake of simplifying prayer patterns and encouraging sincerity in prayer. Reformers from the Lutheran, English, and Catholic churches used the Lord’s Prayer as the model of prayer and the pattern according to which the Christian should pray. Protestant reformers, moreover, encouraged laypeople to pray the Lord’s Prayer in their mother tongue rather than the traditional Latin of the medieval Church. All vernacular sixteenth-century Roman Catholic catechisms, moreover, utilized a vernacular version of the Lord’s Prayer for the sake of explaining the meaning of its seven petitions. While pastoral advice in the late Middle Ages encouraged pastors to teach the prayer in the vernacular for the sake of lay comprehension and so that the faithful would know the prayer in the vernacular for the same reason, the Latin version of the prayer was still preferred for recitation of the prayer in ritual contexts. Protestant reformers, however, rejected personal prayer in Latin for an uncomprehending laity. For the reformers, the goal was heartfelt, sincere prayer, and so comprehension, and not mere recitation, was the key to ritually effective and spiritually affective prayer.
5.2 The Re-Ritualization of the Lord’s Prayer in Martin Luther’s Reforms of Lay Prayer This consideration of Martin Luther’s reform of devotional prayer will begin with his Exposition of the Lord’s Prayer for Simple Laymen, published in 1519 and based in 203
part on sermons from 1517.423 Luther began this work by recounting how Christ, in Matthew’s Gospel, both told his disciples how to pray and for what to pray. This led Luther to conclude that, when it comes to the manner of prayer, “the fewer the words, the better the prayer,”424 and, when it comes to the content of prayer, Luther privileged the brevity of the Lord’s Prayer and favors its heartfelt petitions.425 He then turned to the gospel of John in his discussion of how to pray, noting two types of “bad” prayer inferred from Jesus’s Johanine instruction to the Samaritan woman to pray “in spirit and in truth.” Praying in spirit, he held, is directed against “untoward” prayer, whereas praying in truth is meant to thwart “sham prayer.” Sham prayer is best characterized by “the mouth’s thoughtless mumbling and chattering,” “performed with the mouth, but not in truth.” Praying “in spirit and truth,” then, is praying with sincerity, where one’s attention, emotion, and external expressions are all aligned toward authentic expressions of one’s longing for communication with God.426 Thus, Luther took up the longstanding issue of misalignment of interior disposition and exterior expression in prayer. Luther continued his discussion of prayer by turning to external prayer (praying with use of vocal prayer and physical gesture) and detailing three different motives for external prayer: sheer obedience, for the sake of reward, or with devoutness of heart. Although prayer performed out of obedience alone is not ideal, even these prayers of
WA 2:81; translation from LW 42:19.
WA 2:81-83; translation from LW 42:20-22.
WA 2:81-82; translation from LW 42:20.
mere performance are somewhat beneficial, as they bear some fruit by irritating the devil. Likewise, prayer recited merely with the hope for reward is also imperfect, though God, in his mercy, does still answer such prayers. Devoutly recited prayers, however, where “the external is mingled with the internal” and “the inner truth breaks forth and glows with an external semblance” is the ideal manner of praying. Usually it does not express itself in a flow of pretty words, however, as the soul is so caught up in meditating upon God.427 Luther then turned his attention to the Lord’s Prayer, which he called “without a doubt the most sublime, the loftiest, and the most excellent” prayer.428 As the ideal prayer, it holds within it all that any other prayer could hope to touch upon, though other prayers are not to be completely scorned. Luther asked his readers to return the Lord’s Prayer to its rightful place as the primary prayer in their spiritual life and that they place all other prayers and patterns of prayer, such as the St. Bridget Prayer, the Rosary, the crown prayers, and even the Psalter, in subordinate position to the Lord’s Prayer. 429 Luther then detailed the introduction and seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. In his Personal Prayer Book (Betbüchlein, 1521) Luther did not treat traditional devotional prayer in nearly as generous a manner as he did in his 1519 work. Luther’s Personal Prayer Book marks his most ambitious, but not his first, attempt to rework the traditional tools of personal piety such as the Books of Hours and popular guides to
WA 2:81-82; translation from LW 42:20-21.
WA 2:82; translation from LW 42:21.
WA 2:83; LW 42:22.
preparing for death. His prior evangelical versions of these texts seemed to counter each popular area of late medieval piety: Seven Penitential Psalms with a German Translation430 (Lent 1517); Sermon on Preparation for Death,431 Sermon on Contemplating the Holy Suffering of Christ,432 and Sermon on the Holy, Reverend Sacrament of Baptism433 (1519); and Short Form of the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer434 (1520).435 His Betbüchlein was meant to reimagine the penitential emphasis of these devotional books; Luther replaced the traditional listing of vices and sins used in preparation for confession with the Ten Commandments, substituted the traditional guidelines for reaching salvation with the Apostles’ Creed, and exchanged the prayers of protection and indulgence for the Lord’s Prayer, and even included a short evangelical explanation of the Ave Maria.436 Luther explained the devotional approach of his Betbüchlein as prioritizing the “things a person must know in order to be saved.”437 Devotional prayer was oriented towards attaining salvation, a pattern of action and affect for the sake of relieving anxiety about eternal salvation. Luther, familiar with this spiritual anxiety, attempted to redirect
WA 10 II:375-406; LW 43:7.
WA 10 II:376-377; LW 43:13.
the devotee’s attention from anxiety to hope, and from striving for salvation to growing in relationship with God. Late medieval prayer books also frequently attempted to elicit an emotional reaction from their readers: leading them through the affective cycle of sorrow, contrition, love of God, and psychic relief. Luther provided readers with an analogous devotional ritual: a cycle of sorrow for sin, knowledge of salvation, and hope for a close relationship with God. Thus the commandments teach man to recognize his sickness, enabling him to perceive what he must do or refrain from doing, consent to or refuse, and so he will recognize himself to be a sinful and wicked person. The Creed will teach and show him where to find the medicine—grace—which will help him to become devout and keep the commandments. The Creed points him to God and his mercy, given and made plain to him in Christ. Finally, the Lord’s Prayer teaches all this, namely, through the fulfillment of God’s commandments everything will be given him. In these three are the essentials of the entire Bible.438 Luther’s meditations on the Ten Commandments and the Creed served to lead the devotee through sorrow for sin and faith in God, as well as serving the catechetical function of explaining basic Christian morality and theology. The final step in the cycle, his meditation on the Lord’s Prayer, served devotionally and affectively to turn the devotee’s attention to God, the Father, as the source of their Christian hope, served theologically as a sort of absolution, and served catechetically as a guide to prayer in general. Like Kolde’s prayer book, Luther’s Betbüchlein served as a sort of penitential and devotional exercise, but an exercise where the Lord’s Prayer itself provided the
WA 10 II: 377; translation from LW 43:14. This is the same approach taken by early modern Catholic sermons on the Rosary; preachers explained that the Rosary served as a compendium of the gospels for illiterate audiences.
psychic relief of absolution, rather than serving as a post-absolution penance or as a preconfessional exercise in contrition. Luther’s Betbüchlein was his attempt to replace late medieval prayer books and Books of Hours by utilizing the texts of the catechism, which more frequently appeared in primers, rather than the numerous texts that were featured in Books of Hours. All of these literary genres involved overlapping material, however, and these strict distinctions are modern scholarly inventions. As Nathan Mitchell points out, on the other hand, the material for Luther’s Betbüchlein also overlapped with the Bidding of the Bedes and Prône: a medieval form of liturgical intercessory prayer, in the form of a litany, prayed by the people and the priest together, either during the Mass on Sundays or in its own Sunday vernacular office called Prône.439 Luther was therefore encouraging his readers to integrate the prayer texts of catechism, prayers that they would have recognized from their regular Sunday worship practices, into their daily devotions. The purpose of these daily patterns of private prayer, moreover, was to orient the devotee back towards liturgical participation: to praying these texts with the congregation during the liturgy and to reciting these texts for sacramental preparation and reception. Furthermore, Luther’s personal piety, which so strongly emphasized baptism, hinged upon daily remembrance of that baptism and repentance of sins in light of baptism. The Lord’s Prayer, then, forms the bond between private prayer and public celebration of the sacraments, linked, as historian Roy Hammerling has written, through “the grace of absolution,” as expressed in the Lord’s Prayer. The absolving nature of the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, as
Mitchell, Mystery of the Rosary, 102-103.
Luther explained in his Small Catechism, is absolution which “grows out of” baptism and which the believer receives repeatedly in confession and holy communion. 440 Thus the Lord's Prayer not only connects believers to the sacraments, it also gives them "direct access to God's forgiveness"441 through its personal performance. Luther’s Small Catechism of 1529, as discussed in Chapter Three, was written with the express intent of educating the laity in those prayers that were not only their baptismal birthright, but also were central to the practice of the Christian faith. It functioned as a concise compendium of the central tenets of living, believing, and praying according to Luther’s evangelical ideals: the three catechetical texts, the sacraments, and a pattern of daily prayer for private or domestic use. This pattern of daily prayer had a twofold function: on the one hand, it formed believers into pray-ers, and on the other, it led to and drew from the worship of the church community, preparing believers for liturgy and sacrament and calling to mind the worship patterns of the liturgy and their participation in the sacraments. The example of daily prayer provided in the Small Catechism is rather concise: In the morning, when you rise, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say: In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer: “I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast kept me this day also from sin and all evil, that all my doings and life may please Thee. For into thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy
Roy Hammerling, “The Greatest Martyr on Earth: The Lord’s Prayer in the Reforms of Martin Luther,” paper presented at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, MI, May 2003. 441
angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.” Then go to your work with joy, singing a hymn, as the Ten Commandments, or whatever your devotion may suggest. … In the evening, when you go to bed, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say: “In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.” Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer: “I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast graciously kept me this day, and I pray Thee to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.” Then go to sleep promptly and cheerfully.442 The brevity of these instructions for daily prayers is surprising, but their concise nature may be deliberate on Luther’s part. Having experienced his own angst regarding daily prayer as a monk, Luther did not want to oblige Christians to any method or pattern of prayer with the concern that it would lead them to see prayers as meritorious works. Rather, he wanted to encourage the devotional impulse of daily prayer—turning to God for one’s needs—as a beneficial way to shape one’s piety. Prayer was not commanded as another obligation on Christians, but rather as a habit which formed one in the modes of prayer: through turning to God in need, glorifying God’s name in doxology, thinking of God at all times in thanksgiving, and of course giving rise to more prayer. While Luther also encouraged believers to listen for the spontaneous prompting of the Spirit for prayer, set patterns and habits of prayer made following these promptings to call on God in prayer like second nature. Being formed in the habit of turning to God in prayer at regular
WA 30 I: 261-262; translation from Luther, “Small Catechism,” The Book of Concord, 363.
times throughout the day, believers would more easily pray spontaneously. In the private and domestic setting, moreover, these patterns of prayer shaped the believer for participation in communal liturgical prayer, priming his or her disposition for reverence and awe as well as trust and familiarity with God in the Church’s liturgy. As liturgical scholar J. Neil Alexander noted in his work on Luther’s reform of the Daily Office, the formula of daily private morning and evening prayers set out in the Small Catechism took its structure from the Daily Office. Not only did Luther’s Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer begin with a blessing and the Creed and Lord’s Prayer, as in the Daily Office, but his additional suggested “little prayers” drew on the prayers of the now-suppressed office of Prime (in the morning) and the office of Compline (in the evening).443 While Luther disapproved of the clerical abuses of daily prayer as vehemently as eucharistic abuses, he nevertheless drew upon these liturgical patterns for both his reform of the Daily Office and his suggested patterns of private or domestic daily prayer. Cognizant, as a former friar, of the permeating power of daily monastic prayer to shape habits of piety, Luther utilized the formative patterns of daily prayer to imprint the catechism and a liturgical spirituality onto the hearts of the laity in Lutheran lands. Suspicious as he was of the scholastic and Aristotelian theories of habituation and the cultivation of virtues, however, Luther did not see daily prayer as a virtuous habit but rather as a regular exercise of the heart: a means to train the Christian to turn to and trust in God alone.
J. Neil Alexander, “Luther’s Reform of the Daily Office,” Worship 57.4 (July 1983): 352.
Finally, in his 1535 A Simple Way to Pray, Luther outlined even further a method for personal prayer, recommending it for anyone interested in improving his or her patterns of daily prayer, and claiming that it was how he himself prayed daily. This pattern was based on his Small Catechism, which Luther clearly intended for lifelong use by Christian believers, not only beginners or children, as Luther tells his friend Peter the Barber, to whom the work was addressed, that even he used this pattern in his own prayer.444 Luther again recommended a twice-daily pattern of prayer: first thing in the morning and the last thing before sleep at night. 445 This pattern of prayer continued Luther’s 1520 concern with aligning the interior and exterior, or the affects with the actions, for Luther then counseled Peter to recite the catechism or any teachings of Christ until his “heart is warmed,” and only then to begin to pray by kneeling or standing, with hands folded, and then to address God: O Heavenly Father, dear God, I am a poor unworthy sinner. I do not deserve to raise my eyes or hands to pray to thee or to pray. But because thou hast commanded us all to pray and hast promised to hear us and through thy dear Son Jesus Christ hast taught us both how and what to pray, I come to thee in obedience to thy word, trusting in thy gracious promise. I pray in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ together with all thy saints and Christians on earth as he has taught us: Our Father who art, etc., through the whole prayer, word for word.446 Luther then instructed Peter to repeat the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer as he saw fit, meditating on its deeper devotional and theological meaning, as well as using it to guide
LW 43:190, 193.
WA 38:358-359; LW 43:193.
WA 38:360; translation from LW 43:194-195.
one’s petitionary prayer: for others, for justice, for the conversion of one’s enemies, for daily needs, for forgiveness (both our own and our ability to forgive others), protection from temptation, and deliverance from evil.447 Luther concluded by explaining the “Amen” as a way to assure Peter that God truly does hear and grant our prayers. Yet Luther also cautioned Peter not to use his guide as a prayer text for rote recitation, which he viewed as “nothing but idle chatter and prattle, read word for word out of a book as were the Rosaries by the laity and the prayers of the priests and monks.”448 Luther encouraged Peter to follow the prompting of the Spirit or of his own thoughts, praying as he saw fit: “It may happen occasionally that I may get lost among so many ideas in one petition that I forego the other six. If such an abundance of good thoughts comes to us we ought to disregard the other petitions, make room for such thoughts, listen in silence, and under no circumstances obstruct them.”449 With this pattern, Luther himself found daily solace in the depths of the simple Lord’s Prayer. As he explained: “To this day I suckle at the Lord’s Prayer like a child, and as an old man eat and drink from it and never get my fill. It is the very best prayer, even better than the psalter, which is so very dear to me.”450 Meditating upon the prayer’s petitions allowed him to turn to the biblical, catechetical, baptismal, eucharistic aspects of
WA 38:360-362; LW 43:195-197.
WA 38:362-363; LW 43:198.
WA 38:363; LW 43:198.
WA 38:364; LW 43:200.
the Lord’s Prayer time and time again without danger of mere rote repetition and with fresh attention each time, which, Luther believed, is how it was meant to be used: What a great pity that the prayer of such a master is prattled and chattered so irreverently all over the world! How many pray the Lord’s Prayer several thousand times in the course of a year, and if they were to keep doing so for a thousand years they would not have tasted nor prayed one iota, one dot, of it! In a word, the Lord’s Prayer is the greatest martyr on earth (as are the name and word of God). Everybody tortures and abuses it; few take comfort and joy in its proper use.451 Peter was then instructed, if he had time to get through the Lord’s Prayer, to then move on by meditating upon the Ten Commandments, reflecting on each commandment in a fourfold manner: instruction, thanksgiving, confession, and prayer.452 In a later edition, Luther then added the Creed as well to be reflected upon according to the same pattern.453 As the Luther scholar William Russell has argued, prayer and catechesis were intimately connected in Luther’s reforming efforts.454 I would argue, beyond Russell, however, that both of these were, for Luther as for his medieval forefathers, intimately connected also to liturgy and sacrament. Luther, along with his reforming contemporaries, saw how inadequate the medieval attempt to monasticize the laity’s prayer patterns for more meaningful liturgical participation and sacramental reception had become. Instead, Luther, with his reformed Lutheran liturgy and sacraments and his
WA 38:373-375; LW 43:209-211.
See William Russell, Praying for Reform: Martin Luther, Prayer, and the Christian Life (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2005).
Small Catechism as a concentrated guide to the Christian faith, was attempting to reimagine worship and prayer with laypeople in mind while simultaneously reimagining the vocation of laypeople. By virtue of their baptism, as members of the priesthood of all believers, he held that all Christians were called to participate vocally and in the liturgy, to partake in the sacraments, and to daily prayer. All believers possessed a vocation to participate in the worship life of the Church in all aspects of their lives; with his Small Catechism and devotional works, Martin Luther attempted to form Lutheran laypeople for their baptismal vocation of praise and thanksgiving.
5.3 The Lord’s Prayer in English Protestant Reforms of Lay Prayer The use of the Lord’s Prayer in the teaching of prayer to laypeople was a contentious issue in sixteenth-century England. All Protestant ministers in England agreed that, if their congregations used any set prayers, it was preferred they use biblical prayers. One biblical prayer, of course, was preferred before all others: the Lord’s Prayer. It was the favorite prayer of separatists and conformists alike, crossing all theological and liturgical boundaries in the English church.455 Disputes about the way in which the Lord’s Prayer was prayed and the contexts in which it was used, however, came to dominate late sixteenth-century English discussions of prayer. Where Thomas Cranmer and Hugh Latimer struggled in the late 1540s and early 1550s simply trying to teach congregations of laypeople in England to learn and pray the Lord’s Prayer in English, later apologists such as Richard Hooker had to defend the practice of praying the
Ryrie, Being Protestant, 227.
Lord’s Prayer at all. At issue in Hooker’s England was the aim of private prayer and the connection between public (liturgical) and private (devotional) prayer. Hooker, like Cranmer and Latimer before him, understood public prayer to form worshippers according to a pattern by means of repetition and ritual, which was then transposed to the private context. His Separatist adversaries, on the other hand, held a different approach to the formative aspects of public prayer, as we shall see. Cranmer’s approach to the Lord’s Prayer and to lay private prayer is best understood through his 1553 Primer. This official primer of the Church of England, commonly called the Edwardian Primer, contained a similar assortment of materials as was contained in pre-Reformation primers: it began with a calendar, included a catechism (identical to the Catechism of 1552 Book of Common Prayer), continued with a series of graces and daily prayers, as well as a short preparation for prayer, and concluded with “An Order of Private Prayer for Morning and Evening.”456 The text on preparing for prayer, presented as a way to compose oneself for the exercise of praying, is the most indepth guide to private prayer that we have from Cranmer himself. He recommended that the devotee first examine his or her conscience, consider his or her needs, recall God’s promise to hear and answer all prayer, have faith that God will fulfill that promise, pray through the person of Jesus, ask for all worldly needs only inasmuch as they glorify God, allow God to work when and as he sees fit, and, finally, to undertake prayer only out of
The Primer; or Book of Private Prayer, Needful to Be Used of All Christians. Authored and Set Forth by Order of King Edward VI, 1553, in The Two Liturgies with Other Documents Set Forth by Authority in the Reign of King Edward the Sixth, ed. Joseph Ketley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1844), 358.
love for others and God. He then concluded with a summation of each of these instructions: Pray Because 1. Thou hast need. 2. God commands thee. 3. Of God’s promises. 4. Pray in faith of God’s promise. 5. Ask all things in Christ’s name. 6. Ask worldly and temporal things conditionally. 7. Appoint God no time but abide his pleasure. 8. In any wise pray in charity. Ask things pertaining to thy salvation, remission of sin and life everlasting, without condition. For these hath God certainly promised to all them that with a true faithful and obedient heart doth come unto him in earnest and continual prayer.457 The Edwardian Primer answered the question of how to pray well by providing an outline for the process of preparing oneself for prayer, ensuring that the devotee’s emotions, intent, and attention were adequately focused upon the matter at hand: addressing God in prayer. Like Luther, Cranmer began prayer with knowledge of one’s inadequacies and needs and encouraged the devotee to bring all needs, worldly and spiritual, to God. Unlike Luther, however, there is no affective cycle being worked through. The catechism that preceded this instruction on prayer in the Primer follows the Book of Common Prayer’s pattern—Creed, Ten Commandments, and Lord’s Prayer— though it, like Luther’s, turns from the Decalogue to the Lord’s Prayer by means of the
“1553 Primer,” 377.
sinner’s incapacity to live up to the Ten Commandments without the help of God, to whom one should turn in prayer.458 Unlike Cranmer, his contemporary Hugh Latimer provides us with some further insight into the English authorities’ theology of private prayer in his sermons on the Lord’s Prayer. Latimer’s second sermon on the Lord’s Prayer explains that the prayer contains everything that is central to Christian prayer: “This prayer is a perfect prayer, an abridgment and compendious sum of all other prayers. There is nothing that we have need of, neither to our souls or bodies, but it is contained in some of these petitions; nor nothing that God promiseth in his word to give us, but it is expressed in one of these seven petitions.”459 Latimer also notes his personal practice of leading the congregation in the praying of the Lord’s Prayer before and after each of his sermons for the sake of helping those gathered to learn, memorize, and practice reciting the prayer in English as one body. He explains: Marvel not that I use at the sermon’s end to make prayer, for I do it not of singularity: but when I am at home, and in the country where I go, sometime when the poor people come and ask me, I appose them myself, or cause my servant to appose them, of the Lord’s Prayer; and they answer some, ‘I can say my Latin Paternoster;” some, “I can say the old Pater-noster, but not the new.’ Therefore that all that cannot say it may learn, I use before the sermon and after to say it. Wherefore now I beseech you, let us say it together: ‘Our Father, which art,’ &c.460
“1553 Primer,” 372.
Hugh Latimer, “The Second Sermon Upon the Lord’s Prayer,” in The Works of Hugh Latimer, ed. George Elwes Corrie (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1844), 341. 460
Hugh Latimer, “Sermon Preached at Stamford: November 9, 1550,” in Works of Hugh Latimer,
This admission suggests that Latimer clearly understands public liturgy, particularly lay liturgical participation, as serving the purpose of educating the laity, at least to some extent. This intention, as well as the ability of the liturgy to form them according to a particular liturgical pattern, has been hypothesized for Cranmer as well.461 It is clear that, for the early English reformers, common prayer and private prayer existed in a reciprocal formative relationship: public prayer was meant to shape believers’ piety and theology, and private prayer was oriented to participating in that public prayer. Hence the concern for uniformity in worship, public and private, as Ramie Targoff, in his literary approach to common prayer in England, notes: “the practice of common prayer depended upon complete uniformity: there should be no division between the devotional utterances of the illiterate or bookless and the prayers of the learned, between that which the worshippers were feeling their hearts and that which is said out loud.”462 It seems, further, that the English authorities themselves prioritized common prayer for just this perceived ability to shape the devotions and emotions of the worshipping public, for they argued for its superiority in the Homilies: “it appeareth that publicke and common prayer is most available before God; and therefore is much to be lamented that it is no better esteemed among us…”463
Gordon Jeanes, “Cranmer and Common Prayer,” in The Oxford Guide to the Book of Common Prayer: A Worldwide Survey, ed. Charles Hefling and Cynthia Shattuck (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 29. 462
Ramie Targoff, Common Prayer: The Language of Public Devotion in Early Modern England (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), 25. 463
[John Jewel,] “An Homily, wherein is Declared, that Common Prayer and Sacraments Ought to be Ministered in a Tongue that is Understood of the Hearers,” Sermons or Homilies, Appointed to be read in Churches (London: Prayer Book and Homily Society, 1833), 243.
The prayers of the Book of Common Prayer, then, were intended to form worshippers not only according to the pattern of the words and the form of the liturgy, but also according to the emotions that the words of prayer, for the first time in English, were intended to incite. By listening to and reciting these public prayers, laypeople in England were expected to learn not only how to pray in English, but how to come to know and to converse with God according to the English Protestant pattern. This shift in public prayer was then translated into the private sphere as the private practice of prayer became a miniature of public prayer. It is the liturgy of the church, scaled down for the domestic church, which has now become a satellite shrine for the mother church.464 The Primer itself demonstrates this: its prayers to say at rising and prayers to say before going to sleep, as well as an “Order of Private Prayer for Morning and Evening” were based entirely upon the twice-daily pattern and the prayer forms of the Daily Office of the Book of Common Prayer. Even the confession of sins was identical to the Book of Common Prayer, with the exception of the personal pronouns, which changed from first-person plural to first-person singular.465 Targoff hypothesizes that Cranmer’s liturgical aim was “to restructure corporate worship so that it is entirely compatible with as well as conducive to the practice of personal devotion.”466 The publication of the Primer in 1553 after the Book of Common Prayer of 1552 and its pattern of daily prayer in imitation of the Daily Office, however, suggests that Cranmer was likely thinking the other way
Targoff, Common Prayer, 34. Cranmer’s reforms of daily private prayer, then, follow Luther’s
Ibid., 35. Also noted in Ryrie, Being Protestant, 233.
Targoff, Common Prayer, 35.
around: he restructured devotional patterns of private prayer, such as found in preReformation primers and Books of Hours, so that they were in accord with his evangelical patterns of public prayer. While the Edwardian Primer, like Luther’s Small Catechism, took up patterns of daily prayer inherited from the Roman Catholic Daily Office, the single biggest issue regarding private prayer and the Lord’s Prayer in sixteenth-century England was not between Catholic practices of prayer and Protestant practices. Rather, the devotional divide in late-sixteenth-century Britain was between the official patterns of prayer, laid out in the liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer and intended for use in private prayer, and the Reformed approach to prayer that was imported to England by those who fled to the Continent under Queen Mary and returned influenced by Calvin’s teachings on prayer. It seems as if Cranmer’s reforms to private prayer were, at least on the surface, effective during Edward and Elizabeth’s reigns. By the end of the sixteenth century, Reformed ministers complaining not that their parishioners would not pray, but that they prayed precisely those texts of the catechism that were recited in worship each Sunday according to the Book of Common Prayer: the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments, and nothing more. They prayed, lamented Puritan James Perrott, only according to the words of the Lord’s Prayer and Creed, and not with the intent behind them, “without premeditation or knowledge what either of them contains.” 467 The ministers’ complaints, on the one hand, were directed at insincere prayer and, on the other, expressed concern for the “popish or monastic” quality of praying that such a 467
James Perrott, Certaine Short Prayers and Meditations upon the Lord’s Prayer and Ten Commandments, (London: Mathewes, 1630), sig. A10v. Quoted in Ryrie, Being Protestant, 150.
pattern hinted at.468 In his Admonitions to Parliament, 1572, the Separatist Thomas Cartwright pushed beyond the complaints of those who leaned Reformed to a more radical approach to common prayer. He and his allies wanted nothing less than a Genevan worship book, lacking the Book of Common Prayer’s repeated recitations of the Lord’s Prayer, as well as the abolition of the episcopacy. Even more extreme dissenters, such as John Penry and Henry Barrow, rejected the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer outright, and suffered execution for their views on the matter.469 At issue for official patterns of private prayer in England was the reformers’ belief that private prayer was meant to be oriented to public prayer, even as a solitary reproduction of what was intended to be prayed in community. Cranmer and Latimer held up the Lord’s Prayer as central to private and public worship, repeated in liturgy both for the sake of memorization by the laity and as a familiar text through which all present could participate with voice and heart.470 Private prayer, according to the official English Protestant liturgical pattern, was meant to form the believer for public liturgical participation, and this formation was thus achieved through repetition. For those Protestants whose spirituality and liturgical sensibility leaned more towards Calvin over Cranmer, this was unacceptable; these liturgical repetitions were, at best, liturgically pointless and, at worst, theologically untenable. To them, private prayer and public liturgy were not oriented towards forming believers according to a liturgical and
Ryrie, Being Protestant, 150.
Stevenson, The Lord’s Prayer: A Text in Tradition, 178.
Ryrie, 227; Latimer, “Sermon Preached at Stamford,” Sermons by Hugh Latimer, vol 1, 307-
devotional pattern by means of repetition, but towards authentically expressing believers’ inner religious sentiments. Prayer and liturgy were about sincerity, not formation, and so repetition was not just pointless: it was antithetical to their understanding of what prayer and worship were meant to be. Frequent recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, commonly in the liturgy or privately in personal devotions, were, for the Reformed in England, essentially “vain repetition.”471 Furthermore, the text of the Lord’s Prayer was not, in and of itself, the issue. It was the way in which the Book of Common Prayer’s liturgies used the prayer that was the heart of the problem. Cranmer preserved the medieval pattern of liturgical prayer, using the Lord’s Prayer twice in the liturgy alone. Calvin, on the other hand, retained the Lord’s Prayer in the baptismal liturgy, but replaced it with a paraphrase in the Sunday liturgy. Calvin kept the prayer in his catechism, but as a guide to understanding the nature of prayer and a model of private prayer. Unlike the catechisms of the Book of Common Prayer and the Lutheran churches, Stevenson notes, “it was treated as a quotation from scripture rather than as a liturgical prayer in its own right.472 Defending the Conformist position from the Reformed and Separatist criticisms in the last decades of the sixteenth century was Richard Hooker. Hooker favored public prayer over private due to its communal nature. He understood the collective prayers of the liturgy to not only unite those gathered in prayer on earth, but also unite earthly
Kenneth Stevenson, “Richard Hooker and the Lord’s Prayer,” Scottish Journal of Theology 57(10): 40. This was Jesus’ Matthean warning about prayer in the English translation of the Genevan Bible. 472
Stevenson, “Hooker,” 45.
worshippers with the heavenly hosts praising God in heaven.473 For Hooker, public prayer was “worthier” than private, providing worshippers with “much more comfort” because of its official status and “reliable” nature; the “virtue, force and efficacy” of public prayer is lacking in private worship due to its deprivation of the public context.474 As with Cranmer and Latimer, common prayer was the principal form, while private prayer was meant to prepare one for public worship. The Lord’s Prayer, in this approach, is then an “essential part of every act of public worship,” as the archetype for prayer in general and the ideal form of prayer in one’s private practices. 475 For Reformed thinkers in England, however, common liturgical prayer was not the highest form of prayer, as it could not authentically express the sincere beliefs and emotions of all who were participating. Its nature as a set text precluded its ability to speak for all who worshipped. However, this understanding of set prayer didn’t lead all Separatist ministers to reject printed prayers outright; numerous popular compendiums of devotional prayer were published by separatist printers during the late 1500s.476 These separatist devotional prayers were undoubtedly meant to be used in an exemplary manner, rather than as set texts for recitation in personal prayer, but their language and formulaic patterns hint at another Reformed understanding of prayer beyond mere expression of sincere belief and emotion. These prayers were “undeniably” didactic in
Richard Hooker, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co.,1965) 5.23-5.25, quoted in Stevenson, “Hooker,” 48/ 474
Hooker, Laws 5.25.1-5.25.2, quoted in Stevenson, “Hooker,” 48.
Stevenson, “Hooker,” 49.
Ryrie, Being Protestant, 219.
nature.477 Separatist prayer in late sixteenth-century England, then, as much as the Book of Common Prayer, was meant to form believers according to theological ideals. Where the English liturgical authorities preferred ritual and repetition in their manner of forming believers, Reformed-influenced Protestant ministers clearly understood formation in a more didactic, intellectual manner, to the extent that many of their prayers took on the quality of “miniature homilies.”478 This “didactic aspect” of Protestant prayer in England became, according to Ryrie, one of the “dominant functions” of prayer “in this period, a dramatic reversal of the pre-Reformation pattern” of prayers that were effective by merit of their recitation alone, and not the hearer’s comprehension. Yet, as we have seen, the medieval Catholic model of prayer of ex opere operato was more a bare minimum guarantee of efficacy than it was a general guide to prayer. Comprehension and intent, as well as aligning interior and exterior disposition, still mattered to most, if not all, medieval commentators. As we shall see, this Catholic concern for sincere prayer continued and increased after the Tridentine reforms.
5.4 The Lord’s Prayer in Roman Catholic Reforms of Lay Prayer As explained in previous chapters, the Tridentine approach to lay formation, in prayer as in catechesis and liturgical participation, did not simply cling to late medieval ritual patterns of formation. Roman Catholic reformers not only utilized the same technologies and techniques as their Protestant counterparts, they also employed the same
Ryrie, Being Protestant, 223.
humanist-influenced theories of formation and theologies of prayer, despite the divergent roads that these reforms took. Yet they also further developed the heritage of late medieval models of effective and reverent prayer. In the sixteenth-century Catholic reforms of the ways in which laypeople were taught to pray, Roman Catholic reformers made use of popular devotions and prayers in their efforts to form the Catholic faithful according to Tridentine ideals of prayer. The overarching concern of Catholic pastoral reformers regarding lay prayer, both in the medieval and early modern period, was sincerity in prayer, like their Protestant counterparts. This trend continued after Trent, when virtually every Roman Catholic catechism detailed the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer in the vernacular for intellectual comprehension and held it up as the model of proper prayer, even though Latin remained the preferred language of prayer performance. The Ave Maria and its enshrinement in the prayer pattern of the Rosary is remembered as the paradigmatic prayer ritual of early modern Catholicism, but it was the Lord’s Prayer with which each and every Catholic catechism and prayer book began its treatment of prayer. Robert Bellarmine’s Dottrina Cristiana gives us insight as to why: it was the first piece of catechetical knowledge that any young Catholic would have learned and it was the first prayer he or she would (or should) have prayed in the morning. “Do you know the Pater Noster? I know it very well, for this is the first thing that I learned, and I say it every morning and evening together with the Ave Maria and with the Creed.”479 Although it would come to be overshadowed in the popular imagination by the Ave Maria, the Lord’s Prayer retained primacy of place as the first prayer that children
Robert Bellarmine,S.J., Dottrina Cristiana (Rome: Marco e Lorenzo Aureli, 1855), 12.
were to learn and as the central prayer of catechesis and daily prayer, at least in early modern Catholic catechisms and their models of prayer. While the canons of the Council of Trent made no declarations about prayer in general or the Lord’s Prayer specifically, its participating bishops did declare the dire need for a catechism. This catechism was not intended for laypeople, however, but for the clergy and, through their efforts, for the better formation and education of the lay faithful who were under their spiritual care. Thus, the catechism that resulted from the Council of Trent (commonly called the Roman Catechism) was, like most late-medieval catechisms (such as Jean Gerson’s), intended for clergy for the sake of fulfilling their obligations to catechize the souls in their care. Unlike the new Catholic catechisms created by reforming figures such as Canisius and Bellarmine, whose catechisms were intended for laypeople at various levels of theological expertise and educational background, the Roman Catechism was more in line with its late medieval Catholic ancestors. In this catechism for clergy, the topic of prayer is not introduced until the final section of the work, which itself concludes, rather than begins, with the Lord’s Prayer. While the Roman Catechism’s treatment of prayer unsurprisingly leans heavily upon Patristic, especially Augustinian, tradition by taking up the traditional sevenfold pattern of petitions and their interpretations, it does not connect these petitions with the other sevenfold schema, such as the Gifts of the Spirit and the virtues. This movement, as Stevenson notes, is a “considerable break with tradition.” 480 The rest of the Roman Catechism’s treatment of the prayer, however, is beyond the scope of this study of the
Kenneth Stevenson, The Lord’s Prayer: A Text in Tradition, 168.
ritual functions of the Lord’s Prayer in lay formation. The Roman Catechism’s discussion of prayer and lay formation in prayer, on the other hand, is perhaps the most forceful treatment to date of clerical obligations to lay formation in prayer after a long tradition of episcopal recommendations and synodal legislations from the Middle Ages. Clerical instruction of the laity on the practices of prayer was declared by the Roman Catechism to be one of the most important parts of the pastoral office. Without the instruction of the pastor, the faithful cannot know the “nature and efficacy” of prayer.481 All aspects of “the performance of the duty of prayer” are encompassed by the Lord’s Prayer, and so the laity should be instructed in its recitation and its meaning as the foundation of their prayer lives. As the Roman Catechism stresses, “its thoughts and words should be so deeply impressed on the mind and memory as to be ever in readiness.”
The Roman Catechism also gave advice about how to pray, stressing that the faithful should approach prayer with thoughtfulness and deliberateness, as the prayers of the negligent and careless would not be answered by God. Christians could avoid this ritual failure by attending to the words that they recited and focusing their attention on their intent instead: “Since prayer is an elevation of the soul to God, if, while we pray, the mind, instead of being fixed upon God, is distracted, and the tongue slurs the words at random, without attention, without devotion, with what propriety can we give to such
Catechismus Romanus seu Catechismus ex decreto Concilii Tridentini ad Parachos PII Quinti Pont. Max. Iussu Editus (Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1989), 527. Translation from Catechism of the Council of Trent for Parish Priests, John A. McHugh, O.P., and Charles J. Callan, O.P., trans. (New York: Joseph F. Wagner, Inc., 1923), 477. 482
empty sounds the name of Christian prayer?”483 Moreover, the state of one’s soul and relationship with God could influence the efficacy of prayer. There is a hierarchy of degrees of prayer: the prayers of the just being the highest, prayers of sinners the second highest, prayers of the unbelievers the next degree, and, at the lowest degree of prayer, is the prayer of unrepentant sinners.484 The state of one’s relationship with God, then, could determine how effective one’s prayer was. The Roman Catechism also counseled pastors on how to teach the laity in their care to prepare their souls for prayer, an acknowledgement that one’s disposition in prayer is of “vital importance.”485 Devotees should approach prayer to God, their Father, with humility, sorrow for their sins, free from anger and hatred, free from pride and contempt of God’s word, and in faith and confidence that God hears and will grant their prayers. Most of all, however, it was conforming one’s “thoughts, actions, and prayers” to God’s will that was the most important way of ensuring that one is praying properly and that one’s prayers were answered.486 The Roman Catechism, like Luther’s 1519 Exposition on the Lord’s Prayer, differentiates between mental and vocal, public and private prayer, and advocates “prayer in spirit and truth,” which it characterizes as “interior and intense ardor of soul.” Mental prayer, which is the soul’s outpouring of this ardor, is ideal, but vocal prayer is still
Catechismus Romanus, 531; Catechism of the Council, 480.
Catechismus Romanus, 535-537; Catechism of the Council, 484-486.
Catechismus Romanus, 546; Catechism of the Council, 493.
Catechismus Romanus, 549-550; Catechism of the Council, 496.
recommended as an exercise that “quickens the attention of the mind, and kindles the fervor of him who prays.”487 Private prayer was “employed in order to assist interior attention and devotion;” it was undertaken on the individual level for personal communication and union with God. Public prayer, on the other hand, is a communal manner of praying “instituted to excite the piety of the faithful” by the Church and was “prescribed for certain fixed times” and for which “the use of words is indispensably required.”488 The authors of the Roman Catechism here seem to have been aligning this practice of public prayer with vocal prayer of the laity—that is, the public, communal, vocal prayer of laypeople in the liturgical setting. Nevertheless, no mention was made in this section of liturgical prayer prayed by the priest on the behalf of the laity, such as the prayers offered in the Mass. This is significant considering that the congregation still did not, after the Tridentine reforms, pray aloud during the Mass. These detailed discussions of types of prayer for the clergy are mirrored in some of the theologically sophisticated catechisms for educated laypeople, such as Peter Canisius’ Summa Doctrinae Christianae (1555). Canisius, like Luther, emphasizes the late medieval concern of interior disposition and exterior expression in prayer in his most famous Catechism when he discusses two types of worship—interior and exterior—that exemplified effective ritual participation and true communication with God. Interior worship, according to Canisius, was marked by an understanding of God’s will and conformity with the divine will; it was accompanied by and expressed in faith, hope, and
Catechismus Romanus, 551-552; Catechism of the Council, 497.
Catechismus Romanus, 552; Catechism of the Council, 498.
charity. Exterior worship, in contrast, was “a shining through of interior divine worship,” marked by outward and visible signs and ceremonies.489 One could be certain that God was worshiped sincerely only when one was conformed in body and soul to worship of God: in soul according to interior worship, and in body when exterior piety is joined with interior intention, most notably through the sacraments.490 Canisius was clearly referring to the disposition of individuals participating in liturgy and the sacraments, but his discussion could just as easily be extended to prayer. Moreover, in his discussion of the Lord’s Prayer, Canisius took up the traditional (sevenfold Augustinian) division of the Lord’s Prayer petitions, and explained the prayer in terms of an intentional, even ritual, alignment of interior and exterior dispositions in prayer as well as in ethic. He explained that the Christian believer’s adoption as a son or daughter of God through Christ compels him or her to follow the ethical obligations inherent in calling oneself a child of the Father.491 He then equated the hallowing of God’s name with a glorifying of the name of God by bearing witness through exemplary Christian living and connected the proclamation of God’s coming kingdom to an eschatological hope for inclusion in God’s coming reign. And finally he identified the petition that the Father’s will be done as the devotee praying that he or she might do God’s will, in imitation of the angels and saints who renounce their own will and submit to God’s alone.492 Thus, Canisius utilized the
Peter Canisius, S.J., Summa Doctrinae Christianae, (Landishut, Germany: Josephi Thomann,1823), 76. 490
late medieval patterns of interior and exterior piety unified in sincere private devotion for his explanation of effective and sincere public worship, and he connected interior and exterior piety to the expressions of accord with the divine will in one’s living out of the faith in his discussion of the Lord’s Prayer. Canisius seems to ascribe to the belief, along with other early modern reformers, that forming Christians who were devout in prayer was intimately connected to forming them to participate in worship, equally informed in both by proper catechesis. Canisius’ detailed discussions of prayer reflected the higher standard of theological and catechetical instruction expected of the laity, as well as the higher standard of clerical involvement in that instruction resulting from the Council of Trent. Catechism classes, confraternities of Catholic catechesis, missionary work within Europe, increased and improved preaching, not to mention the catechisms themselves, were all tools developed by early modern Catholic reformers to meet this goal of a better educated laity. Central to this revitalization of lay theological education was a more sophisticated prayer life: the goal and the means for which the Church wanted to claim itself to be the sole authority. As Virginia Reinburg has explained, Catholic and Protestant reformers alike wanted exclusive claim to “the authority to teach lay people how to pray,” and in order to accomplish that, some theologians, such as Franciscan Jean Benedicti from Lyons, who “insisted that the Church must endorse the formula and manner of lay
people’s prayer.”493 The Church’s endorsement came by means of reforming the traditional sources of devotional instruction: primers and Books of Hours. After Trent, the Church took a strict stance on the traditional Books of Hours with which Luther took such offense. In the 1571 bull, Superni Omnipotentis, issued by Pope Pius V, many hallmarks of the traditional prayer books, such as accrued prayers and legends, were struck from the Church’s official Book of Hours, the Breviarium Romanum, along with their unofficial promises of indulgence. Only approved prayers and sanctioned indulgences, such as only forty or fifty days, could be prayed and granted to those who recited the gradual and penitential psalms, the reformed Little Office of the Blessed Virgin (issued in 1568), and the Office of the Dead, as they all appeared in the reformed Tridentine Breviary of Pius V.494 In 1568, Pius’ promulgation of the reformed Little Office also, famously, lifted the clerical obligation of the daily recitation of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin.495 In addition to the Breviary and Little Office, laypeople could also utilize the post-Tridentine versions of the primers, such as those that were popular in pre-Reformation England. In his dissertation on English recusant devotional prayer books, liturgical historian Patrick Malloy explains that, for late-sixteenth century and seventeenth-century English Roman Catholics, there simply was no more popular devotional Book of Prayers
Jean Benedicti, La somme de pechez et le remede d’iceau… (Paris: Denis Binet, 1595), 43-44; cited in Reinburg, “Hearing Lay People’s Prayer,” 33. 494
Pius V, Superni Omnipotentis, 1571.
Pius V, Quod a nobis, 1568.
than A Manual of Prayers.496 One of the Manual’s most striking characteristics is its weekly and daily cycles of prayer, cycles that provided the literate layperson with a pattern of daily prayer based upon the catechetical prayers (Creed, Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary) and the psalms in imitation of monastic daily prayer. While the Manual was specific to the English recusant context, it nevertheless had many similarities to Tridentine primers, though it was vastly more popular in England than the Tridentine primers ever were. Therefore, it serves as a helpful example for patterns of postTridentine lay devotion. Malloy attributes the Manual’s popularity to its weekly cycle: the Manual arranged its weekly pattern of devotion thematically, according to “recognized principles of popular devotion that the Primer’s central Little Office of the Blessed Virgin did not.”497 While the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin varied according to the liturgical year, the Manual’s weekly cycle of prayers stayed constant: Sundays on the resurrection and the Trinity, Mondays on the dead, Tuesdays on the saints and angels, Wednesdays on troubles and personal needs, Thursdays on the Blessed Sacrament, Fridays on Christ’s Passion, and Saturdays on the Blessed Virgin Mary. Thus, while it seemed that the early modern Roman Catholics wanted to pray in patterns similar to their monastic brothers and sisters, the English Catholics, at least, preferred to do so with a distinctly devotional theme. The weekly cycle of the Manuals reveals a new early
Patrick L. Malloy, “A Manual of Prayers (1583-1850): A Study of Recusant Devotions,” PhD diss., University of Notre Dame, 1991, 7. 497
modern lay pattern of prayer that amalgamated two earlier patterns: the devotio moderna and the Book of Hours with its Little Office of the Blessed Virgin.498 The edition of A Manual of Prayers that I have consulted proceeds in a manner similar to a traditional early-sixteenth-century catechism or primer. It included: a Calendar; Explanation of Feasts and Seasons; and a “Summe of the Christian Catholicke Faith”: the Creed; the Lord’s Prayer; the Hail Mary; the Decalogue; and the sacraments. It further possessed a catalogue of the numerous lists of other pieces of Catholic knowledge as traditionally rendered in the pre-Reformation primers and prayer books and intermittently listed in early modern Catholic Catechisms: the four virtues, seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, fruits of the spirit, precepts of Charity, commandments of the church, corporal and spiritual works of mercy, beatitudes, senses, types of sin, vices and virtues, sins against the Holy Spirit, things necessary for “the repentant sinner”, the sins that cry out to God for vengeance, the ways to be an accessory to sin, the three kinds of good works (almsgiving, prayer, fasting), the evangelical counsels, and the four last things.499 Like Luther’s Small Catechism and the Edwardian Primer, the Manual gives a pattern of daily prayer, but precedes those offices with a discussion of how to prepare oneself for prayer: First, in the Morning when thou art awake, presentlie though shalt pray to God, that he would so lighten thee, with the light of his Holie Spirit, that you be not allured or enticed to consent to sinne, and so consequentlie seduced to death.
George Flinton, ed., A Manual of Prayers (London: Valentine Simms, 1604), i-xlii.
Secondlie, after thou art risen, blesse thee with the signe of the ✠ Crosse, saying the prayer that followeth. Thirdlie, when thou art apparrelled, give not thy selfe presently to babling, or to vaine fancies; but lift up thy hart unto God in silence, and prepare thy selfe to say these prayers following. Fourthlie, after prayer thou shalt purpose firmely and constantlie in thy selfe, not to commit willinglie that day anie thing, whereby God or thy neighbour might be offended. Fiftlie and lastly, it shall be very necessarie besides these aforsaide, to call to mind thine affaires, and with quickness of spirit, set down with thy selfe, how to spend the day to come.500 The Manual then lists a number of prayers for morning devotions, before it gives a set pattern to be prayed in the morning: the devotee begins by signing and blessing him or herself, then prays the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Creed, the Confiteor, and the Kyrie, and then pledges his or herself to God, asking for protection throughout the day. All of the prayers were listed and printed in their entirety in English.501 As Malloy notes, with each successive edition of the Manual, from the early seventeenth century into the nineteenth, its psalmic and liturgical material—“elements of Latin hymnody (in translation), antiphons, versicles with responses, and Roman collects”—were increasingly featured in this most popular recusant private prayer book. All of these elements of Latin hymnody, however, appeared in English translation in the
Malloy explains that four types of manuals developed as the Manual was reprinted in succeeding editions. These types depend upon the weekly cycle of prayers. Two types, Tabular Type and Weekly Type took the more common devotional route with the aforementioned prayers, while another type, the Psalmic Type, first appeared in 1616 and utilized the Psalms instead of devotional prayers to be read in two offices, morning and evening, throughout the week. A fourth, Abridged Type Manual, also existed. All of these Manual types, whether utilizing devotional/catechetical patterns of daily or psalmic daily prayer, exclusively used English translations of the prayers and the psalms alike. Malloy, “A Manual of Prayers (1583-1850),” 19-21, 51.
earlier versions of the Manual. It is a fascinating tension between liturgical and devotional, public and private, Latin and vernacular prayer: as the contents of the Manual grew more liturgical, they were, at the same time, translated into a vernacular and personal context. The editors and authors of the Manual, apparently in response to lay demand, transformed the way in which early modern English Roman Catholics prayed, providing them with a “liturgically-based devotional book, infusing a liturgically-bound way of praying.”502 Thus, early modern Catholic catechisms were still focused on the goal of ensuring effective ritual participation, albeit by emphasizing a higher degree of theological sophistication than the bare minimum levels of ritual proficiency required for medieval participation. Even the most basic early modern Catholic catechisms demonstrated a demand for higher levels of theological competence for ritual participation, beyond mere recitation of prayers and reception of the sacraments. Every vernacular sermon that expounded the Lord’s Prayer, each description of its petitions in the catechisms, and each class of schoolchildren who memorized these texts speak to the post-Tridentine Roman Church’s growing systemic commitment to the laity’s cognitive comprehension for the sake of effective ritual participation. It was no longer enough that Catholic lay believers simply went through the motions of ritual participation in the life of the Church—they needed to be trained in and to demonstrate comprehension of those rites as well. Yet early modern Catholic reformers did not just reform catechesis to reshape prayer; they also exploited the formative power of prayer for catechetical ends as well.
Malloy, “A Manual of Prayers (1583-1850),” 163.
While catechisms dominated the Protestant approach to formation as a multipurpose tool—for catechesis, for participation in worship, and also for devotion—the administrators of Catholic reform, especially the religious orders, employed Catholic catechisms in tandem with Catholic devotions. The Rosary is but one example. While all Catholic catechisms included devotional material, such as prayers to the Virgin, and were undoubtedly used as prayer books by some, it is interesting to note the increased emphasis on the catechetical dimension of the Rosary happening at the same time. Nathan Mitchell, in his Mystery of the Rosary, details this process.503 It was much easier for reformers to form believers by utilizing their most dearly held devotions than to impose a new complicated framework upon adult believers. Thus, while the tools of catechesis could function as instruments of devotion, conversely, the instruments of devotion could even more effectively be reframed for catechetical ends. The new early modern Catholic religious orders were especially sensitive to the formative power of devotion, and they strategically employed devotions to shape a new generation of early modern Catholics according to Tridentine theological and liturgical ideals, as evidenced especially in their internal European missions504 and the spread of their new devotions.505
See Mitchell, Mystery of the Rosary.
See Keith P. Luria, “The Counter-Reformation and Popular Spirituality,” in Christian Spirituality: Post-Reformation and Modern, ed. Louis Dupré and Don E. Saliers (New York: Crossroad, 1989), 97-101; H. Outram Evenett, The Spirit of the Counter-Reformation (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1975). 505
For example, the proliferation of new forms of eucharistic devotion, such as the popularization of the Forty Hours devotion, grew alongside para-liturgical developments such as the widespread placement of tabernacles upon churches’ main altars. These devotional and liturgical innovations served not only to refocus devotees’ attention and their practices back to the parish and to the Eucharist, but also to reinforce Tridentine eucharistic theology.
In conclusion, like their medieval reforming predecessors and their Protestant counterparts, early modern Catholic bishops and religious re-ritualized pastoral care in changing cultural circumstances and according to contemporary theological and formational principles. The Lord’s Prayer—the central text of medieval catechesis, ritual participation, and prayer for the laity—was retained in early modern Protestant and Catholic practice as the quintessential text for lay religious expression and lay religious formation. As discussed, an examination of the ways in which each confessional tradition re-ritualized the late medieval inheritance of the Lord’s Prayer gives us insight into their methods and motivations for forming Christians and reforming Christian practices of lay prayer.
5.5 Conclusion: Re-Ritualizing Lay Prayer by Means of the Lord’s Prayer As we have seen, the Catholic and Protestant reforms of lay prayer in the sixteenth century were all generally concerned with forming laypeople into regular prayers according to the model of the Lord’s Prayer. Where Catholic reformers especially advocated the use of set texts, especially the Lord’s Prayer, in private devotion, Luther and Cranmer alike recommended the use of the Lord’s Prayer for private prayer. The use of catechisms by the laity for instruction in prayer, however, was perhaps the most influential innovation of the period. As discussed, the Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent continued the old pattern of the catechism as a tool for clerical use for the sake of catechesis of the laity. In contrast, Protestant (and Canisius’) catechisms gave the tool to the laity themselves, either by memorization or by reading. Yet these catechisms were still mere transmission of information from clergy to laity. They still required clerical 239
instruction, clerical supervision, and clerical interpretation. Moreover, this catechetical formation in prayer was frequently oriented toward liturgical participation: in preparation for sacramental reception, for recitation in the liturgy, and meant to be meditated upon daily by the laity in their domestic manifestation of daily liturgical prayer. Furthermore, I have underscored repeated patterns within sixteenth-century reforms of Protestant and Catholic authorities alike that point to the clergy’s increased expectations of lay theological expertise and liturgical proficiency. These patterns bear out in the reforms of lay prayer as well. While Protestant reformers were preoccupied with undoing the late medieval Catholic habits of prayer in their lay populations, Catholic reformers, at Trent and throughout Europe, were intent on re-forming the ways in which their lay parishioners prayed according to new Tridentine ideals. As the pressure of confessionalization grew in the 1540s and 1550s, each church tried to establish not only what knowledge is necessary for their own members, but also what constituted participation in the liturgy and sacraments of their confessional church, and, finally, what the private prayer lives of Lutherans, English Protestants, or Catholics would ideally look like. The concern of pastoral authorities was no longer that the laity simply be taught how to pray, but that the laity be taught to pray according to confessional ideals. This was an integral part of the plan of the reformers, Catholic and Protestant, to not just reform Christian formation, but to reform Christians. As we have seen, the Lord’s Prayer played an integral part in each aspect of these reforms of formation: catechetical, liturgical, and devotional.
With the Lord’s Prayer as a guide, in this dissertation I have sought to uncover the reformers’ re-ritualization of Christian formation in three arenas: catechesis, liturgical participation, and private prayer. This dissertation examined the fragmentation of the medieval ritual system of Christian formation and its reconstruction in the new ritual systems of the sixteenth-century reformers. It put forward models of the reformers’ large-scale conception of ritual in their respective approaches to reforming Christian formation, from the small changes to larger transformations and even rejections of the medieval Catholic ritual framework of formation. It considered how they reworked catechesis, liturgy, and prayer in their understanding of the functions and aims of ritual in the formation of Christians for their ultimate vocation: to praise and glorify God in the daily worship of their lives. The late medieval church utilized the Lord’s Prayer not only as the primary example for lay prayer, but as a text of liturgical participation and ritual symbol of membership in the Church, and also as the backbone of the catechetical catalog of necessary religious knowledge. In the new catechetical framework, the Lord’s Prayer was a concluding text of catechetical knowledge. More important were the Creed— teaching theology—and the Decalogue—teaching morality. The Lord’s Prayer was 241
utilized to teach proper, non-superstitious methods and approaches to prayer, to encourage sincere prayer, to aid in the development of a spiritual life. It had become less a symbol, more an instrument. It once served, more than the Creed, as the symbol of membership in the Body of Christ: given over at baptism, learned throughout childhood, called upon in prayer, examined at confession, prayed during the eucharistic celebration. In the sixteenth century it was relegated to private prayer and a means of liturgical participation. It no longer signifies membership—that was the role of the catechism as a whole during the decades of confessionalization. It no longer sufficed as the main text for ritual participation in the sacraments: the entire catechism now needed to be memorized and recited to receive communion or become confirmed. And while it remained the primary prayer text for private devotion, it was more frequently called upon in theory than in practice: it was a guide and a model, yes, but in Catholic circles the prayer was superseded by the Ave and the pattern of the Rosary, and in Protestant circles it was best understood as an ideal pattern upon which ones own prayers could be built. It was not so much a text with its own ritual power as it was a framework for more heartfelt, authentic, sincere extemporaneous prayer. Peter Burke has written of the sixteenth century as a “repudiation” of ritual across the confessional board: in the Lutheran, English, Reformed, Anabaptist and Radical, even Roman Catholic churches.506 Susan Karant-Nunn has suggested instead that a
Peter Burke, “The Repudiation of Ritual,” The Historical Anthropology of Early Modern Italy: Essays on Perception and Communication (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1987), 223-238.
reformation of ritual was taking place in the sixteenth century.507 Edward Muir has argued that it was, instead, a revolution in ritual theory.508 Nathan Mitchell has discussed a “ritual reframing” that occurred during the period.509 In my presentation of the ritual orientation of late medieval Christian formation and my examples from the texts of Christian formation in the sixteenth century, I have proposed, rather than a repudiation, revolution, reformation or reframing of ritual, a larger renegotiation of ritual: Luther, Cranmer, and the Catholic reformers at Trent utilized their new theories of ritual to rethink its place in lay education, participation in worship, and instruction in prayer. Furthermore, just as the medieval Carolingian liturgical reformers once set about reritualizing Christian initiation in their changing ecclesial and cultural context, so the Lutheran, English, and Catholic reformers endeavored to re-ritualize Christian formation, and, consequently, re-ritualized the Lord’s Prayer, in their own context of larger cultural and ecclesial change.
Susan Karant-Nunn, The Reformation of Ritual: An Interpretation of Early Modern Germany (New York: Routledge, 1997). 508
Edward Muir, “The Reformation as a Revolution in Ritual Rheory,” in Ritual in Early Modern Europe, 2nd ed. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 163-201. 509
Nathan Mitchell, “Reframing Ritual,” The Mystery of the Rosary: Marian Devotion and the Reinvention of Catholicism (New York: NYU Press, 2009), 77-113.
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